FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 10, 2019
Contact: Arizona Republic Guild
PHOENIX — Today, the journalists of The Arizona Republic voted to unionize with the NewsGuild-CWA. The vote was 64 to 30 out of a bargaining unit of 101 people.
After one of the most aggressive anti-union campaigns in recent memory in the media industry, an overwhelming majority of the newsroom chose to unite to protect benefits, improve working conditions and win a seat at the table. A looming merger between Republic parent company Gannett and GateHouse Media aims to cut $300 million or more.
“This is a historic decision to protect local journalism,” said consumer reporter Rebekah Sanders, who joined the paper in 2008 and is a member of the organizing committee. “We have sent a powerful message to Gannett that we expect dignified layoff severance, fair wages and a voice in the decisions that affect our future.”
The Republic is the first newsroom to win union recognition during Gannett’s ownership. Ten newspapers — including the Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kitsap Sun and Memphis Commercial Appeal — were unionized years before Gannett purchased them.
“Today our journalists won a collective voice in our future and the future of Arizona journalism,” reporter Alden Woods, a member of the organizing committee, said. “Tomorrow, we start putting that voice to good use.”
While this is a major milestone that deserves celebration, now the real work begins.
Republic journalists will immediately begin preparations to form a leadership committee, a bargaining committee and a newsroom steward structure, and will work with Gannett to set a schedule of negotiations for a first contract.
The Guild will seek input on the contract from all newsroom employees, regardless of how they voted, and bargain in the interest of everyone.
“The company has told us over the last few months how much they value us as employees. So I expect they will treat us with respect at the bargaining table and allow us to enshrine that value in the contract,” said Richard Ruelas, a features reporter with more than 25 years of experience who served on the organizing committee.
The Arizona Republic Guild is only as strong as its members. All newsroom employees will be needed to fight for the pay, benefits and job security we deserve.
Together, we win.
The Arizona Republic Guild