Editorial employees at three Gannett publications are standing together to fight for local news and address long-standing newsroom issues.
Journalists at three Gannett-owned New Jersey publications — the Bergen Record, the Daily Record and the NJ Herald — announced that they are unionizing with the NewsGuild of New York local on Wednesday. With nearly 90% of eligible staffers signed on, the Record Guild has requested voluntary recognition from management.
During the pandemic staffers organized to address significant issues impacting their working conditions and the integrity of their publications. The Record Guild joins thousands of media professionals across the U.S. and Canada who have organized with The NewsGuild-CWA to protect their local outlets. In particular, workers at several Gannett-owned publications — including the South Bend Tribune, Palm Beach Daily News, and Arizona Republic — have organized to fight for their newsrooms.
Union members of the Record Guild are pushing for job security and for greater protections against unjust terminations and reduction in force, especially as Gannett and other corporate hedge funds in the media continue to slash newsroom staff and put stakeholder profit over the workers they should protect.
Importantly, as New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation, workers have organized to address the lack of inclusion and diversity in the workplace and, subsequently, the inability to effectively and equitably reflect the communities they serve. The Record Guild is advocating for greater diversity in hiring, coverage and engagement with their readers and respective communities.
“The three papers represented by the members of our union have provided local news to northern New Jersey for more than 100 years,” said Terrence T. McDonald, reporter with The Record. “In fewer than five years Gannett has turned each into a shadow of their former selves. We organized to bring more power to the writers, photographers and web producers who are dedicated to providing our communities with the journalism they deserve.”
Jessie Gomez, a reporter at the Daily Record, said, “Journalists are never the story but as we continue to see layoffs, poor healthcare benefits and unequal pay, we can no longer stay silent. My colleagues, along with the communities we serve, are suffering. “As a young Latina, I’m invested in North Jersey’s diverse communities and after a year of racial reckoning, it’s time we hold our leaders to their pledges for diversity and fair treatment of all. That starts with our newsroom.”
“I’m thrilled to welcome the editorial workers of The Record Guild into our union,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “These workers are fighting to safeguard the legacy of local news in northern New Jersey and justly advocating for stronger, more diverse newsrooms that can continue to be a critical lifeline, celebrated storyteller, and most importantly, a necessary watchdog for our communities. We call on Gannett for swift recognition so that we can get to the table to ensure that the collective voice of these workers, and the interest of our readers, are heard, and respected.”