The next steps will be to set a vote date or to organize a mail-in ballot as the coronavirus pandemic keeps many people stuck indoors. It's not clear when lockdowns will be eased in the New York City region where Hearst is based, though New York State this week will end restrictions on areas and businesses that meet the criteria to reopen.
The WGAE will provide updates on a vote date or mailed ballots when a decision has been reached, a spokesperson said.
The NLRB ruled against Hearst's objections of the employee-bargaining group the WGAE had proposed. Last year, the organization had filed an unfair labor practice charge against Hearst, amid press reports the company was trying to bust up union organizing.
The 133-page ruling mostly consists of arcane arguments about which employees could be classified as managers, making them ineligible to participate in the union's bargaining unit. Hearst also had asked to divide its employees among six bargaining units, based on editorial categories and region, and said the existence of the Hearst International Employees Association barred employees from organizing a new union.
The existence of the association was an odd twist in the efforts to unionize, as Bloomberg Lawreported last year. However, the NLRB ultimately considered the association inconsequential to the effort to form a union.
As many publishers cope with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic by cutting jobs, reducing salaries, suspending hiring and other cost-cutting measures, Hearst has stood out for pledging not to take similar actions.