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US panel sets date for action against Thomson Reuters

US authorities have set 29 April to issue a previously announced civil complaint against Thomson Reuters unless the company settles its long-running contract dispute with a union representing some editorial employees.

The National Labor Relations Board said it would postpone its complaint, which is similar to an indictment, on charges that include unlawfully implementing pay and benefit cuts until after the Newspaper Guild of New York and management negotiators meet in a bargaining session with a federal mediator on 26 April.

“However, if no settlement of the contract dispute is reached or if the Employer has not agreed to enter into an informal settlement with the (NLRB) by April 28, 2011, the complaint in this case will issue on April 29, 2011 in order to avoid further delays in the processing of this case,” the Board’s Manhattan acting regional director said on Wednesday in a letter to company lawyers and the union.

Last week the Board told Thomson Reuters the complaint would accuse the company of illegally reprimanding a reporter over a public Twitter posting she had sent criticising management.

In its latest letter the NLRB notified the union and management that it planned to add three more allegations to its complaint: that management illegally changed the health care and  retirement savings plans and illegally applied a code of conduct to Guild-represented employees that was not negotiated with the union. The Guild represents some 420 Thomson Reuters staff.

Thomson Reuters declared an impasse in contract talks with the Guild in January 2010. ■

The Newspaper Guild of New York