For Immediate Release: Dec. 12, 2018
Contact: Dave Eisenstadter (603) 762-1273
Dane Kuttler (201) 835-4602
Workers at the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate voted in a convincing majority in favor of unionizing. The Pioneer Valley NewsGuild can now begin the productive work of negotiation with Newspapers of New England for a fair contract.
The final tally was 40 in favor with 29 opposed.
The union consists of more than 70 employees in all departments, including editorial, advertising, press room, distribution, circulation, custodial and accounting. The Pioneer Valley NewsGuild will join the Providence local of The NewsGuild-CWA.
“We now go into negotiations with a strong mandate from our coworkers,” said Dave Eisenstadter, a swing editor at the Gazette and a member of the union organizing committee. “The workers at the Gazette and Advocate spoke loudly through this vote that we want a seat at the table.”
“We now go into negotiations with a strong mandate from the employees,” said Dave Eisenstadter, a swing editor at the Gazette and a member of the union Organizing Committee. “The workers at the Gazette and Advocate spoke loudly through this vote that we want a seat at the table.”
Along the way, the union received an outpouring of support from local elected officials, clergy, former editors and other employees, teachers, students, subscribers and others. Two hundred community leaders signed a letter of support, which was sent to Gazette and Advocate publisher Aaron Julien. Elected officials voicing support for the organizing effort included U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. James McGovern, state Senator-elect Jo Comerford and state Representative-elect Lindsay Sabadosa.
“The support we’ve gotten from the community has been vital. It’s sustained us through tough moments by reminding us that we’re not alone,” said Dane Kuttler, who manages the classifieds and obituaries.
More than 70 percent of eligible employees signed a petition seeking voluntary union recognition, which was delivered to Julien on Nov. 12. Julien refused to consider this option, instead voicing strong opposition to union organizing efforts in the five weeks leading up to the vote.
“We have been consistent in expressing our intention and goal in organizing our union,” Luke Sillars, a distribution worker, explained. “We want to work productively with NNE to create a respectful workplace where good ideas are valued, efforts are rewarded and the future of the publications we value so highly is secure.”
The full union membership will meet soon to elect leaders and discuss the coming negotiations.
The NewsGuild-CWA represents more than 20,000 journalists and other communications professionals in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is one of the largest unions in the country.