Photo of the staff of The Southern Illinoisan

Workers denounce plans to sell The Southern Illinoisan

The Unions of Lee Enterprises is denouncing plans by Lee Enterprises to sell The Southern Illinoisan newspaper to Paxton Media Group under terms that will result in the elimination of all the local journalists who currently work for it.

Despite pronouncements by Paxton Media on Oct. 27 that it will foster “community-based journalism” and “expand” coverage through the purchase of The Southern Illinoisan, the entire union-represented newsroom has been told they should clear out their desks by Nov. 24.

Continue reading “Workers denounce plans to sell The Southern Illinoisan”

Statement on the Israel-Gaza war

The NewsGuild-CWA, America’s largest union of journalists, strongly condemns the killing of journalists in Gaza, Israel and Lebanon and calls on all parties to ensure the safety of journalists in the region to work without threat or interference. 

The union additionally condemns comments made on Thursday by Benny Gantz, a minister in the Israeli government and former defense minister, who compared journalists to “terrorists” in a post about Hamas’ October 7 massacre in Israel. 

Continue reading “Statement on the Israel-Gaza war”
TVO strikers on the picket line on Halloween in 2023

Workers at TVO ratified a new contract, ending strike

Canadian Media Guild members at TVO ratified a collective agreement with their employer Sunday, ending a 77-day strike by more than 70 workers who produce current affairs, online news, educational programming and other news at the public broadcaster in Ontario.

Other unions, politicians and fans of TVO programming stood up and held the employer to account. The new agreement increases wages 7.5% over three years and provides a pathway for members to change jobs within the organization. Workers will also have access to $500 a year for training and a voluntary buyout program.

Continue reading “Workers at TVO ratified a new contract, ending strike”
United Media Guild logo

Workers at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri unionize

Last week about 80 lawyers, paralegals and other workers at the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri unionized with the United Media Guild, TNG-CWA Local 36047.

The workers provide high-quality legal services to low-opportunity clients and communities. The group advances justice for low-income and marginalized individuals and families through free legal representation, eduction and supportive services for folks over 65 years old.

Continue reading “Workers at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri unionize”

Wisconsin Watch staff wins voluntary recognition, forms union

MADISON/MILWAUKEE – Employees of the investigative news outlet Wisconsin Watch were voluntarily recognized Friday (Nov. 3) by the nonprofit’s board of directors and chief executive officer as the newly formed Wisconsin Watch Union.

That follows 80% of rank-and-file Wisconsin Watch journalists and administrative staffers signing union cards with The NewsGuild-CWA. The staff went public with the unionization effort on Oct. 23 after a monthslong organizing effort.

Continue reading “Wisconsin Watch staff wins voluntary recognition, forms union”
Education Week Union logo

Education Week staffers overwhelming vote to unionize


BETHESDA, Md. — The staff of the nonprofit Education Week, a top source of news, research, and analysis on K-12 education nationwide, has officially formed a union with the hopes of securing a more transparent and equitable workplace.

Reporters, visual artists, digital and engagement specialists, marketing and advertising professionals, sales representatives, and other employees across Education Week cast their votes on whether they wanted to be represented by the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild over the past three weeks via mail and in-person ballots. On Nov. 1, the National Labor Relations Board tallied the votes: Of those who voted, 68 percent said yes to a union. The NLRB is expected to certify the election shortly.

Continue reading “Education Week staffers overwhelming vote to unionize”
Scholastic workers rally outside headquarters in August 2023.

Scholastic workers walk out to protest glaring hypocrisy by the children’s publishing powerhouse

As the company continues damage control over siloing titles at its book fairs focused on race and LGBTQ+ themes, it is also fighting its workers on living wages.

NEW YORK – Unionized workers at Scholastic – the children’s publishing powerhouse – are walking out in protest of the billion-dollar company’s refusal to pay its workers fair wages, specifically its rejection of the Scholastic Union’s proposal for annual raises.  

Members of Scholastic Union will not report to work Wednesday, Nov. 1 as part of the one-day stoppage and will instead rally via Zoom and then hold an in-person protest and picket starting at 1 p.m. outside Scholastic’s corporate headquarters at 130 Mercer St., New York City.

“What we are asking for, from a billion dollar company, is enough to live on as employees,” said Sandra Roldan, a member of the Scholastic Union. “We have members who have had to use their retirement savings to keep up with the inflationary costs and rent increases since the pandemic. That’s unacceptable for a company who professes to be dedicated to the ‘highest quality of life in community and nation.’”

Flagrantly hypocritical, Scholastic wants the public to believe that it values “the worth and dignity of each individual,” as its corporate credo says but yet it refuses to pay living wages and tramples on the legal rights of its unionized employees. 

All this comes as Scholastic attempts to mitigate controversy over its program to silo titles focused on race and LGBTQ+ themes at some book fairs. After intense backlash from the public, authors and illustrators, Scholastic halted the censorship.  

The Scholastic Union was formed in 1937 to represent employees at the children’s publishing powerhouse. The 82 members of the Scholastic Union are represented by The NewsGuild of New York. 

The union’s last collective bargaining contract with Scholastic Inc. expired in May 2022. Employees have been bargaining with the company since last October.

“We see straight through the hypocrisy of Scholastic and are standing together today to make this company better,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “Our members are dedicated to the values that their work for Scholastic represents. We think the company should, at both the bargaining table and at book fairs, represent those values too.”

Kathy Zhang speaks to supporters at a rally in front of the New York Times in 2022

The Times Tech Guild, fed up with New York Times intimidation tactics, walks off the job

The afternoon work stoppage comes in response to ongoing threats of discipline by management over The Times’ unlawful return-to-office edict.

NEW YORK – The Times Tech Guild – the largest union of tech workers with collective bargaining rights in the country – will walk out this afternoon in protest of the New York Times’ flagrant disregard for their rights as union members. Times management has continually attempted to coerce members to comply with its unlawful return-to-office policy.

The nearly 700-member union – which includes software engineers, data analysts, project managers, product managers, and designers at the New York Times – will begin their walkout at 1 p.m. They will exit the building at 40th Street (between Seventh and Eighth avenues) and hold a rally, followed by an afternoon of picketing around The Times building. Some members will be in Halloween costumes, to not only mark the upcoming holiday but to demonstrate that they aren’t “scared” of Times management’s anti-union tactics.

Workers who are remote will sign off at 1 p.m. and participate in a digital rally and picket via Zoom.

The Tech Guild, which won its union election by a landslide in March 2022, is negotiating its first contract. The NewsGuild of New York, the labor union that represents the Tech Guild, filed an unfair labor practice charge in September 2022 about Times’ management’s edict to return to the office. In August, Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board found merit to the charge and supported the Guild’s position – that return-to-office is a mandatory subject of bargaining.

Despite that, Times’ management continues to pressure Tech Guild workers to come into the office, including threats that failing to work in-person will impact performance evaluations that determine raises and bonuses. It’s one reason why the Tech Guild is fighting so hard for “just cause” in their contract as a fair standard that management must adhere to when disciplining or firing an employee.

“The Times is now not only refusing to recognize our rights to bargain on return to office but is now going a step further and using it as a tactic to intimidate us,” said Kathy Zhang, unit chair for the Tech Guild. “This afternoon’s work stoppage is to send The Times’ senior leadership a strong, unmistakable message: We will not stand by and allow you to trample on our rights.”

Times management has fought the Tech Guild every step of the way since they first announced their intention to be a union in 2021. It’s a pattern of behavior by the company that’s one of the reasons why the Tech Guild is bringing attention to their contract fight to the public with their walkout.

“Today’s rally is about RESPECT for the workers who help make the New York Times the media powerhouse that it is,” said Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of NY. “We are fighting for a fair contract that protects our Tech Guild members from arbitrary and unlawful work rules. We much prefer to work with a partner across the table in good faith, but that can’t happen until Times management stops violating our members’ rights and labor law.”

Wisconsin Watch Union

Rank-and-file staff of Wisconsin Watch forms union


MADISON / MILWAUKEE — An overwhelming majority of non-managerial employees of Wisconsin Watch, an award-winning, nonprofit newsroom, announced Monday they had organized as the Wisconsin Watch Union.

Members of the union organizing committee presented Wisconsin Watch CEO George Stanley, Wisconsin Watch Board of Directors Chair Brant Houston and other members of the organization’s board of directors with a request for voluntary recognition after 80% of eligible staffers signed cards signaling their desire to be represented by Wisconsin Watch Union.

The union will be affiliated with The NewsGuild-CWA, the nation’s largest union for journalists and other news industry workers.

Wisconsin Watch Union will represent around 10 workers across the business and editorial sides of the organization, including staffers, fellows and interns.

“I’m organizing because I love Wisconsin Watch and want it to become its best possible self: a thriving and inclusive organization,” said Phoebe Petrovic, Wisconsin Watch’s longest-tenured investigative reporter. “I believe deeply in journalism as a public service, I think this organization is well positioned to serve the people of our state. My colleagues do phenomenal work every day, and I believe creating more democracy in the world is an unequivocal good.”

Petrovic was echoed by investigative reporter Jacob Resneck.

“I hope the public doesn’t misread our organizing as a vote of no confidence against Wisconsin Watch,” said Resneck. “On the contrary, we are doing this because we think it’ll make our organization more resilient in years to come.”

He continued: “Forming a union is the tried-and-true way to inject democracy into your workplace. That’s why my colleagues and I have come together to lead by example.”

In a mission statement distributed throughout the newsroom Monday morning, staff wrote: “For nearly 15 years, Wisconsin Watch has delivered the long-form, thorough investigative reporting our state needs. Our commitment to serving the people of Wisconsin through award-winning journalism remains unwavering.”

“We joined Wisconsin Watch because we believe in its mission: increasing the quality, quantity and understanding of investigative journalism in Wisconsin to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy,” the mission statement continues. “We make Wisconsin Watch. To best fulfill that duty and live the organization’s values, the rank-and-file workers across business and editorial must play a greater role in decision-making about the structural, strategic and financial future of Wisconsin Watch.”

Wisconsin Watch staff members’ union campaign comes amid an upsurge in successful organizing drives in newsrooms across the country. For example, workers at fellow nonprofit newsroom ProPublica won voluntary recognition in August.

Founded in 2009, Wisconsin Watch is a nationally recognized nonprofit newsroom that began as the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Until July, it was led by its co-founders, Andy and Dee Hall. The married couple retired this summer. George Stanley, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has since been tapped to lead the organization as CEO.

Update on litigation against NewsGuild members

In June 2021 Mike Elk filed a lawsuit against four NewsGuild-CWA members, the international union and the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh alleging breach of contract over his sources, misrepresentation, defamation and other claims. His lawsuit against our members, myself included, came in the wake of sexual harassment allegations in our Pittsburgh local.

We believe that Elk’s lawsuit is meritless and are vigorously defending against his claims in court.

As Defendants, we are obligated to provide materials in discovery to Elk. In August, we responded to hundreds of requests for documents and questions from Elk. We turned over more than 1,400 pages of documents, including my communications with Ben Smith, a former media columnist at the New York Times. In our request to Elk for information, we asked for his correspondence with Smith, which relates directly to his claims in the lawsuit. We also asked Elk for any other communications he had related to his allegations.

We first asked him for relevant documents on September 19, 2022. Because Elk failed to fully comply with his discovery obligations, after many requests for him to do so, we were forced to file a motion to compel. On September 14, 2023, the Court granted our motion and ordered Elk to, “comply with discovery within thirty (30) days of this date of this Order or appropriate sanctions shall be imposed upon Plaintiff.” The deadline to produce these documents is Monday. To date, he has not provided the requested material.

Curiously, on Friday, Smith, now editor-in-chief at Semafor, reached out asking for comment. He wrote: “​​Jon — Ben Smith here, with I suspect something you may want to kick to comms: But apparently in the ongoing Mike Elk lawsuit, the Guild has demanded all correspondence between Elk and New York Times reporters including me. I was surprised News Guild would go after confidential reporter correspondence, and obviously the Times is agitated about it, though I think it’s within your legal rights. Anything you can tell me?”

We are seeking Elk’s communications as they relate to his allegations against our members, including allegations related directly to Smith’s reporting (a New York Times column that ran in Dec. 2020). Elk cannot ask for justice and also seek to deny it to those who he accuses by refusing to provide the relevant requested information. Despite Smith’s innuendo, we have not and will not serve discovery requests on The New York Times, or any reporter, for this information.

We have an obligation to vigorously defend our members in the workplace and in the courtroom and we will continue to do so. While this lawsuit has been an unfortunate distraction and has taken resources from our members, we will continue to organize thousands of workers into our union and support campaigns that increase our members’ wages, improve benefits, and safeguard a craft that has been under attack for years.

After sexual harassment allegations were raised in Pittsburgh, our members and leaders took several steps to improve our culture and fight harassment in every form in our union. Pittsburgh members immediately asked for the local president’s resignation. He resigned from office and quit his job at the Post-Gazette. We then held town halls and one-on-one listening sessions with our members and crafted a path forward intended to prevent anything like this from happening again. We approved significantly stronger anti-sexual harassment procedures and policies, including a new complaint process for sexual harassment survivors and a new training program for members and leaders. All of this has been extensively covered and communicated on our website and in numerous messages to our membership.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to me at