News & Commentary

December 7, 2022

Sarah Leadem

Sarah Leadem is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

In today’s News and Commentary, New York Times newsroom staff plan to walk out on Thursday, Delta airline pilots reach a tentative agreement, and video game industry employees begin to unionize.

Over 1,000 New York Times employees are set to walk out on Thursday if they do not get a contract. Last Friday, December 2, the Times Guild notified management of its plans to stage a 24-hour work stoppage if an agreement was not reached. The union represents 1,450 workers at the New York Times. 1,100 of them signed a pledge to walk out. Parties entered negotiations yesterday with the prospect of a deal that could avert the walkout. As of last night, the Times Guild urged that management continued to refused worker demands at the bargaining table. The union signaled its intent move forward with the walkout by releasing information about rallies and picket lines. 

Delta Air Line pilots have reached a tentative deal, raising pay by near 34% over four years. This last Friday, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), representing Delta Air Line pilots, reached an “agreement-in-principle” that goes to members for approval. This comes nearly two years after negotiations started in 2019 and were interrupted by the pandemic which upturned the airline industry. As a result, pilots have been working without a contract now for several years. Commentators believe this contract will set a “benchmark” for pilots at United Airlines and American Airlines as both groups continue negotiations with the airlines.
Finally, workers have begun to unionize in the video gaming industry. 300 employees at ZeniMax Media, a video game company owned by Microsoft, have just begun a month-long union authorization drive. Under a neutrality agreement with Microsoft and under the supervision of the NLRB, workers can sign a union authorization card or register their support–or opposition–anonymously through an online option. Several other groups of video game company employees have also recently voted to unionize. Workers at Raven Software voted to unionize in May 2022–becoming the first union in the gaming industry. Just a few weeks ago, the “Game Workers Alliance Albany” also unionized. Both video game studios are part of Activation Blizzard–a major gaming company responsible for well-known games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush. Notably, Activision Blizzard has recently been acquired by Microsoft. In the most recent union drive, Microsoft has agreed to be neutral. The results of the ZeniMax Media election will be announced later this month.  

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