Workers at a dozen Gannett-owned news outlets in the Atlantic region have racked up some impressive wins recently. The Gannett Regional Union, which reported the victories, includes the Atlantic DOT Guild (Atlantic Digital Optimization Team), APP-MCJ Guild (Asbury Park Press, Courier News and Home News Tribune), Hudson Valley News Guild (The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times Herald-Record), The Record Guild (The Record, Daily Record and New Jersey Herald), Newspaper Guild of Rochester and Utica News Guild.
Among the wins:
- They locked in a 58.5-cent per mile compensation floor effective May 1 for members of the APP-MCJ Guild, Hudson Valley News Guild and The Record Guild. That’s well above the 30-39 cents per mile rate that workers at some of the shops had been receiving and more than the 56 cents per mile management gave workers at nonunion shops at the beginning of the year.
- They forced Gannett to establish a pool of $20,000 for back pay of $50 to $500 per person for mileage from Jan. 1 to May 1.
- Members of the Atlantic DOT Guild, who work remotely on a permanent basis, will receive a one-time payment of more than $260 as reimbursement for expenses they incurred performing their duties from home.
- Members of the Newspaper Guild of Rochester and Utica News Guild will get Juneteenth as a holiday this year. Management agreed to grant the holiday on a “non precedential basis,” but workers are determined to win it as a permanent holiday in contract negotiations.
How did they score the wins? Union members say, “Collective action. Through months of anti-union pushback, we had each others’ backs and were ready to call managers out when they crossed the line.” They sent letters to management detailing how Gannett’s low mileage reimbursement affected them and shared their stories online on #MileageMondays.
They also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board when management engaged in unfair labor practices. As the date for NLRB hearings on the charges approached, Gannett approached the Guild about settling the complaints.
“All of this was possible because of the strength of our union,” union members wrote. “The fight certainly isn’t over yet. We have even more to win.”