July 6, 2020 – Staff members of the Tribune Content Agency took a major step Monday toward forming a union, championing the fight against corporate takeovers of newsrooms. More than 75 percent of eligible staff signed cards signaling their desire to be represented by the Tribune Content Guild, part of The NewsGuild-CWA.
“Our goal is simple: Ensuring the integrity of our newsrooms and well-being of our co-workers so that, amid industry upheaval and uncertainty, we continue to produce and provide the quality journalism our clients and their communities trust,” a statement signed by 34 workers said.
“To accomplish our goal, we need a say in the decisions being made that affect our livelihoods and the quality of our work,” they wrote. “We are fighting to be a part of the decision-making process that affects us, as well as journalists throughout the industry.”
The move follows the extension of a “standstill agreement” with New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital on June 30. The agreement limits Alden’s ownership of Tribune stock at 33 percent for another year in exchange for adding the hedge fund’s co-founder, Randall Smith, to Tribune’s board of directors.
Known as “the destroyer of newspapers,” Alden is notorious for hollowing out newsrooms, eliminating jobs and increasing work without additional compensation.
In response, members of the Tribune Content Guild said they are uniting to protect the integrity of the work of journalists across Tribune Publishing. The unit of 40 writers and editors will become part of the local chapter of The NewsGuild.
Based in Chicago with employees around the country, Tribune Content Agency delivers a daily news service and syndicated premium content to more than 2,000 media and digital information publishers in nearly 100 countries. The agency has supported the news industry in various iterations since 1918.
The union campaign is part of a surge in union organizing by The NewsGuild-CWA, which won four union elections in the last two weeks (Montana News Guild representing workers at the Billings Gazette, Palm Beach News Guild representing employees of Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News, Southwest Florida News Guild representing employees at Naples Daily News and Ft. Myers News-Press and Postmedia in Canada).
Follow the Tribune Content Guild on Twitter @TBContentGuild.