For Immediate Release – Nov. 12, 2018
Contact: Brenda Nelson, Librarian, (413) 627-2431
Dusty Christenson, Staff Writer, (678) 507-9951
Bera Dunau, Staff Writer, (607) 644-7836
Dane Kuttler, Classified Advertising Representative, (201) 835-4602
Dave Eisenstadter, Swing Editor, (603) 762-1273
Nov. 12, 2018 – We, the members of the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild, have decided to form a labor union at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate, and are seeking voluntary recognition from ownership. We are taking this step to advocate for ourselves and for the future of this vital community institution.
This union is made up of 72 people who love the Gazette and Advocate, love community journalism, and love the Pioneer Valley. We want to see our beloved news organization stay strong and vibrant for years to come.
However, a series of decisions by management, made suddenly and without consultation with workers, have raised serious doubts about whether or not this will happen. “No one is asking us our thoughts or opinions on how we operate right now.” said Brenda Nelson, the Gazette’s librarian. “This union will let us be heard at the highest levels.”
“We began to organize around pay inequities between men and women at the company about a year ago,” explained Dusty Christensen, a staff writer at the paper. “We reached out to the NewsGuild-CWA for support in organizing, and for help in addressing the many workplace issues that we discovered in talking to our colleagues, across all jobs and departments.”
As such, we are working on behalf of all the workers involved in the production of the Gazette and Advocate: Accounting, Advertising, Circulation, Design, Editorial, Maintenance and Press. It takes every one of these people to make award-winning publications like these possible, and the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild will to fight for the rights and well-being of every one of them.
Our union has the support of an overwhelming majority of all eligible workers. If we are not voluntarily recognized by ownership, we will proceed to a union election, which we will win.
“The decision of Gazette workers to form a union is part of an inspiring national trend,” said NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer. “Employees of more than a dozen news organizations – from the Los Angeles Times to the Casper (Wy) Star-Tribune – have organized with the Guild so far this year. Journalists are taking a stand across the country,” Lunzer said, “and succeeding in the fight for the future of powerful community journalism.”
We hope that recognition will be both swift and painless, so that we can get to the business of making this newspaper the best it can possibly be.
Members of the Pioneer Valley News Guild are available for comment and interview: Brenda Nelson, Librarian, (413) 627-2431, Dusty Christensen, Staff Writer, (678) 507-9951, Bera Dunau, Staff Writer, (607) 644-7836, Dane Kuttler, Classified Advertising Representative, (201) 835-4602, Dave Eisenstadter, Swing Editor, (603) 762-1273.
Photo: Staff of the Daily Hampshire Gazette preparing to present their petition for recognition to the paper’s owner, Aaron Julien. The petition was received calmly, they said, and Mr. Julien promised to consult with counsel and respond quickly. Photo by Andrew Castillo.
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The NewsGuild-CWA represents more than 20,000 journalists and other
communications professionals in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.