Newsletter: 1,000+ workers are in public campaigns to unionize with the Guild

Subscribe to the Guild’s newsletter here.

Staffers at Wirecutter are planning a walkout during Black Friday week if the company continues to slow-walk bargaining. The New York Times Co., which owns the product review site, has failed to provide necessary information to negotiate wages. At the same time, the Times is rolling in money: Wirecutter has added 10,000 paid subscribers and the company is sitting on about $1 billion in cash. The company sends union-busting attorneys to the table and has offered guaranteed annual raises of just 0.5%.

If a deal is not reached, the Wirecutter Union is asking readers and subscribers not to shop through the site on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Supporters can sign up to stay updated on the status of contract talks and virtual picket.

Members of the three unions at the New York Times—The Times GuildTimes Tech Guild, and Wirecutter Union—will protest management’s anti-union tactics at an in-person rally outside the Times building at 12 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 16. I’ll be there.

Journalists at Politico and E&E News made quite a splash when they announced on Oct. 29 they were forming PEN Guild with 80% support from the newsroom. (“PEN Guild” stands for Politico and E&E News Guild.)

They asked the company’s new owners, the giant German media firm Axel Springer, to voluntarily recognize their union. Before the day was over, management reached out to the Guild to discuss voluntary recognition of the new unit. PEN Guild members are in discussions with management to iron that out.

The new unit of about 250 reporters, graphic designers, data team members, producers and copy editors will be a great addition to our union. They’ll join the Washington Baltimore News Guild Local 32035.

The workers are part of more than 1,000 workers in public Guild campaigns fighting for an election or voluntary recognition in seven different workplaces.

Journalists at three Gannett-owned publications in New Jersey voted to be represented by The NewsGuild of New York late last month.

Staffers at the Asbury Park Press, Courier News, and Home News Tribune said they voted to form the APP-MCJ Guild to save local journalism from corporate owners. They want to return journalism to the people.

Gannett has gutted the three newsrooms in recent years, reducing a staff that once numbered in the hundreds to fewer than 50. The remaining journalists are now expected to cover the news for more than 3 million New Jersey residents. Workers plan to advocate for greater diversity in hiring and coverage, and more protections against cuts in staff, wages and benefits. Building union strength throughout the Gannett chain will help us win these battles.

Last week nine NewsGuild locals won organizing awards from CWA, each adding at least 100 new workers since the last convention in 2019. They each got prize money and the NewsGuild of New York, News Media Guild, Washington-Baltimore News Guild, Chicago News Guild, United Media Guild, Media Guild of the West and the Minnesota Newspaper & Communications Guild decided to donate $1,000 to the striking CWA siblings in Buffalo. It’s an amazing example of solidarity and a show of support for collective action and organizing.

We’ve secured a great legislative victory by getting a key provision of the bipartisan Local Journalism Sustainability Act into the latest congressional draft of the Build Back Better reconciliation package. That package still has to pass in the House and the Senate, so Friday’s Twitter action was essential to remind people why this legislation is so important—your participation mattered! The bill provides a tax credit of $25,000 for every local news journalist in a company, up to 1,500 people per company (with exceptions for chains). There are a lot of groups backing the measure and we are essential to it getting across the finish line.

Workers at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Mass., launched a “work-to-rule” campaign, taking a stand against understaffing and outsourcing. “Work-to-rule” means staffers will stop doing all the “extras” they routinely perform – but don’t get paid for – to ensure that the Gazette gets published.

Members of the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild are already working with extremely thin staffing, but management wants to outsource more jobs. Union members have been negotiating for a first contract with Newspapers of New England, Inc., for about two years. They are part of the Providence Local 31041.

This follows a picket in September against outsourcing where readers, former employees, local elected officials and labor leaders videotaped messages of support. “The response from our community was clear. The Pioneer Valley wants to keep newspaper jobs local,” Unit Chair Bera Dunau said.

Full-time faculty at Point Park University in Pittsburgh won a tentative agreement on a new contract in early November, just a week after they staged a spirited on-campus rally calling for a fair settlement. They are members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh Local 38061.

Key provisions of the three-year agreement include: Salaries increases of 3.5%-4.25% percent; increases in the minimum salaries for all full-time faculty positions, with lecturers’ minimum salaries increasing by 12-15% this academic year; four weeks of parental leave with 100% pay, with parents who give birth continuing to be eligible for short-term disability beyond four weeks if they are unable to work.

“We are very excited by this agreement,” Faculty Union Chair J. Dwight Hines told the Pittsburgh City Paper. “It represents, in every measure, a significant improvement in the compensation and working conditions from our previous contract and from what management was hoping to force us to accept in July.”

The Boston Newspaper Guild has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the owners of the Boston Globe after a hard-fought battle that lasted more than 1,000 days and included several job actions and along with outcries from top politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The TA includes a new parental-leave policy and keeps a clause stipulating that the contract would remain in effect if the company is sold by owners Linda Pizzuti Henry and John Henry, who also own the Boston Red Sox. That was a major sticking point throughout negotiations. Workers also maintained overtime pay, which management sought to replace with comp time. Members are scheduled to vote on the deal the week before Thanksgiving.

We’ve got a lot of great training scheduled for this month for Guild members!
Organizing Conversations Training, 6-7 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 10. Register here.
Stewards Training: Defending Our Rights, 12-2 p.m. ET, Sat., Nov. 13. Register here.
Stewards Training: Module 1 – Steward Basics, 7-9 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 17. Register here.
Effective Meeting Facilitation, 7-8 p.m. ET, Thurs., Nov. 18. Register here.
Effective Meeting Facilitation Repeated: 7-8 p.m. ET, Tues., Nov. 30. Register here.
Open Up Bargaining! 7-8:30 p.m. ET, Thurs., Dec. 2. Register here.

In solidarity,

Jon Schleuss
President, NewsGuild-CWA