Gannett’s latest proves the importance of building a strong union

This afternoon Gannett announced plans to cut employee benefits, push buyouts and require non-union employees to take unpaid leave. This announcement came only two months after the company laid off 400 employees and cut another 400 open positions. Gannett’s executives continued to make their motives clear, despite their mission “to build trusted local communities where people thrive.” 

The following statement can be attributed to NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss

Gannett only cares about cutting costs by bleeding newsrooms dry. Gannett doesn’t care about journalists, the local news our communities depend on nor the survival of one of the most important pillars of our democracy.

The only way to fight back is to build a strong union in every newsroom in North America. Many of these cuts will not immediately impact newly unionized newsrooms and Gannett has a legal obligation to bargain over any changes with its workers. 

Hundreds of Gannett journalists are organizing across the country to force Gannett to put people over profits. Journalists hold companies — Gannett included — to account every single day.

America’s journalists call on Gannett to cease the cutting, invest in our newsrooms and pay journalists enough to thrive in the communities they cover. Gannett should eliminate its extravagant executive pay, fire its anti-journalist lawyers and immediately suspend its stock buyback program.

Gannett cannot cut its way out of financial mismanagement. It must invest in journalists if it has any chance to grow. Every American, every community and our democracy depend on it.

About The NewsGuild-CWA

The NewsGuild is the largest union of journalists and media workers in North America, representing about 27,000 workers in media, the public sector, at nonprofits and other labor unions. The Guild represents hundreds of media workers across Gannett at about 50 publications. The Guild is one of the fastest growing unions on the continent and is a sector of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents workers in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, health care, public service and education, manufacturing and other fields.

Newsletter: Some Guild campaigns need your support 

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I attended the Austin NewsGuild’s negotiating session last week via Zoom, where the bargaining committee presented their economics proposals.

I was so proud of the committee and the amazing journalists who gave testimonials. In true Gannett fashion, the management representatives expressed empathy and appreciation for the speakers, but after a 40-minute caucus, returned empty-handed.

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Newsletter: Condé workers make history

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Condé Nast workers made history on Friday: More than 500 staffers at a dozen publications won voluntary recognition of Condé Nast Union. All of Condé Nast publications are now union!

The newly recognized union covers full- and part-time editorial, video and production workers at Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, GQ, Self, Teen Vogue, them., Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as Condé Nast Entertainment. It also includes more than 100 subcontracted employees who work for a third-party staffing agency.

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NewsGuild members protest Gannett CEO Mike Reed outside NYC conference

A contingent of NewsGuild of New York members protested Gannett CEO Mike Reed outside a Citi technology conference in New York City on Friday, blasting the nation’s biggest news chain for laying off more than 400 employees while spending lavishly on executive compensation and stock buybacks. All this, despite the fact that the company received $16 million in taxpayer subsidies from the Paycheck Protection Program.

At the end of the protest, Reed came outside to talk to the union members. He said he was committed to settling contracts with NewsGuild units by the end of the year and that workers can hold him to it.

“We intend to do just that,” said Adrian Szkolar, a producer for the Atlantic Digital Optimization Team and vice chair of the Atlantic DOT Guild. Core NewsGuild demands include strong salary minimums, increased staffing, and a real commitment to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.

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Newsletter: Win a NewsGuild jacket or hoodie this labor week!

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I hope you had a great Labor/Labour Day yesterday!

I was in Toronto alongside members and leaders of the Canadian Media Guild and CWA Canada. It was a blast and from the looks of social media, many other Guild folks joined parades happening around North America. 

I broke down what’s happened since the last labor day in a video message

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IndyStar journalists take their fight downtown

This is a lightly edited version of a post that appeared on the website of the Indianapolis NewsGuild on Sept. 1, 2022.

More than 30 red-T-shirt-clad IndyStar journalists and a dozen allies took a coordinated lunch break to demand a fair contract on Sept. 1, exactly two years after the expiration date of their collective bargaining agreement. (The agreement remains in effect until a new contract is negotiated.)

The journalists marched around Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, chanting, “Chop from the top, not the newsroom.”

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Newsletter: NYT performance reviews show bias; Guild loses a good soul

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An analysis by members of the New York Times Guild published last week reveals stunning racial disparities in performance evaluations of Guild-represented employees by management at the New York Times.

The study found that being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by about 60%, being Black cut the chances of high scores by nearly 50%, and being Asian lowered the odds of a high score by about 35%. In 2020, not a single Black employee received the highest rating, while white employees accounted for more than 90 percent of the roughly 50 people who received the top score.

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U.S. Capitol

Bargaining bill for news companies still needs improvements

A revised version of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act still needs significant improvement, NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss says.

The revised bill, introduced yesterday by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and a bipartisan group of senators, would give news companies the right to bargain collectively with Google and Facebook to recoup revenue the social media giants have diverted from news organizations. 

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Newsletter: You get a contract! You get a contract! You get a contract!

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I just came back from Minnesota for Pride at Work, an organization that builds the power of LGBTQ+ members in the labor movement. It was a total blast and the convention honored AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond and me with their Solidarity Awards.

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Newsletter: A crazy couple of weeks in Guild land!

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The last two weeks have been absolutely bonkers, so let’s just dive right in!

On August 3, workers at the Dallas Morning News ran an informational picket in 100+ degree weather. They had three shifts and held signs saying, “I cover a community I can’t afford to live in” and “@dallasnews Pay your employees living wages” and “More than praise, journalists need a raise!”

Continue reading “Newsletter: A crazy couple of weeks in Guild land!”