NY Guild files Unfair Labor Practice charges against Gannett over union busting

Complaint Alleges Gannett Management Threatened Workers’ 401k Matches for Supporting Union Organizing Efforts

The NewsGuild of New York has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over Gannett union-busting tactics designed to derail the local’s organizing efforts. The complaint details how managers threatened adverse consequences, including loss of benefits, if they supported the union organizing effort.

The complaint also details how the company improperly changed job titles in the middle of a union election and attempted to unilaterally promulgate new return-to-office policies, which are a mandatory subject of bargaining. 

“We have won every Gannett union election by overwhelming margins and I’m proud of our members for standing up to Gannett’s union-busting,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “Our fight for paycheck fairness, just cause, and more inclusive workplaces means a better Gannett for everyone—from workers to readers across the country and in the communities we serve. We will always protect workers’ rights to organize without interference from union-busting managers.”

Susanne Cervenka, a reporter with the Asbury Park Press, said, “Gannett’s union-busting tactics have only made us more resolved to have a voice in our newsrooms and to fight for a strong first contract. I think everyone in the region now sees how a union can mean a better workplace and better journalism for our communities.”

The news comes amid increased outrage over Gannett’s labor practices. NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss has called on Gannett CEO Mike Reed to investigate allegations that employees are frequently expected to work overtime without pay and has called on him to end a “culture of exploitation” at the nation’s largest news chain. Gannett journalists themselves have rejected the company’s denials that unpaid overtime is widespread, and Gannett settled a class-action lawsuit with call center employees over the issue earlier this year for $650,000.

Previously, NY Guild had filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against Gannett’s union-busting at the Atlantic Digital Optimization Team (DOT). That complaint showed how Gannett management promised benefits for rejecting the union.

The NewsGuild-CWA has had a string of organizing successes at Gannett publications in recent years, including:

  • On Aug. 11, 2021, staffers at the Atlantic Digital Optimization Team (DOT) voted to form the Atlantic DOT Guild. They work across a five-state region that comprises 37 websites in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
  • On May 7, 2021, workers at The Bergen Record, The New Jersey Herald, and The Daily Record voted in favor of forming the Record Guild.
  • On Feb. 24, 2021, workers at the Austin American-Statesman voted to form the Austin NewsGuild. They are part of the Media Guild of the West Local 39213.
  • On Feb. 17, 2021, journalists of The Desert Sun voted in favor of forming The Desert Sun NewsGuild. They are part of the Media Guild of the West.
  • On Aug. 18, 2020, staffers at the Delaware News Journal and Delaware Online voted to form the Delaware News Guild. They are part of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia Local 38010.
  • On June 23, 2020, workers at the Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News voted to form the Palm Beach News Guild. They are part of CWA Local 3108.
  • Also on June 23, 2020, staffers at the Fort Myers News-Press and Naples Daily News voted to form the Southwest Florida News Guild. They are part of CWA Local 3108.
  • On Feb. 5, 2020, journalists of the South Bend Tribune voted to form the South Bend NewsGuild. They are part of the Chicago News Guild Local 34071.
  • On Jan. 31, 2020, staffers at the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri voted to form the Springfield News Guild. They are part of the United Media Guild Local 36047.
  • On Oct. 10, 2019, workers at the Arizona Republic voted to form the Arizona Republic Guild. They are part of the Media Guild of the West Local 39213.