SACRAMENTO, CA – The staff of CalMatters, the award-winning nonprofit journalism outlet covering California politics and policy, announced Tuesday that they are forming a union to preserve and protect a robust, equitable and thriving newsroom.
An overwhelming majority, 92% of non-management staff, have signed cards authorizing union representation by The Pacific Media Workers Guild, NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521. They are asking CalMatters leadership to voluntarily recognize the CalMatters Guild as a unit of the Communication Workers of America.
CalMatters’ newsroom has been fortunate to enjoy steady growth in recent years, strengthening the staff’s unparalleled coverage of the California capitol. This work has sparked critical policy discussions, held the powerful accountable and helped explain the vast Golden State to the millions of residents who call it home.
Staff across the organization’s editorial, product and development divisions said that they’re unionizing to further CalMatters’ mission and have a voice in its future. In addition to maintaining a strong and productive relationship with leadership, the CalMatters Guild aims to cultivate advancement opportunities and to ensure that the newsroom remains competitive in attracting and retaining talent as diverse as the state they cover.
“I was born in California, I grew up in California, I went to college in California, and I returned to California to work at CalMatters,” said California Divide Reporter Nicole Foy. “Like so many of my talented colleagues, I want to be able to tell this state’s story as well as I can, for as long as I can. I think the best way to ensure that happens is by giving CalMatters journalists a say in determining our present work conditions and the future success of CalMatters.”
Management’s voluntary recognition of the CalMatters Guild would demonstrate an equal commitment to these shared values at a time when other leaders in nonprofit and political news are establishing their own unions. News organizations that have recently voluntarily recognized staff guilds include ProPublica, Reveal CIR, Cityside, the Center for Public Integrity and Politico/E&E News.
“A union means that we are all fighting for the same thing, no matter the economic headwinds,” Justice Reporter Nigel Duara said. “It’s important to secure our rights and protections now, to prepare ourselves for whatever comes next.”
“My CalMatters colleagues make this organization a great place to work,” said California Divide Reporter Alejandra Reyes-Velarde. “They’re smart, collaborative and kind, and they inspire me to pursue stories that will matter and improve the lives of Californians. I want to unionize because I believe in CalMatters’ mission and I envision myself working here for years to come.”
“I want to support my coworkers in their mission to create an equitable newsroom,” said Associate Events Producer Evelyn Chavez, “where all staff are empowered and supported in their roles.”
“While many news outlets are shrinking, CalMatters is growing in both size and reporting ambition,” Investigative Reporter Lauren Hepler said. “As CalMatters grows, I hope that talented staff members across our newsroom will have a say in where we’re going and how we get there.”
“At CalMatters, I get to step back from the daily news cycle and dive deep into important policy debates that are shaping life in California. I’m proud to bring readers important stories that no one else is covering,” said State Capitol Reporter Alexei Koseff. “I love my talented colleagues and want to see them thrive. Together, we can make CalMatters the best newsroom for all of us.”