Newsletter: Join Gannett journalists for a virtual rally tomorrow!

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Tomorrow night Gannett journalists are speaking out on their fight to save local news. We’re hosting the rally and it’ll include musician Billy Bragg, Florida Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, New York State Senator James Skoufis and unionized Gannett journalists from across the company.

The webinar will start at 7 p.m. ET sharp. Join it here on Zoom.

The rally is open to all. Come hear how hundreds of Gannett employees across the country are fighting back against Gannett’s layoffs, outsourcing, shrinking local news coverage and low pay that prevents many from living in the communities they cover. 

Gannett workers have unionized in droves, and they need your support to fight for better wages, fully staffed newsrooms and stronger benefits at work. This is how we will save local news!

I hope to see you tomorrow night!

Many of our members have been impacted by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian and they need your help. Orlando Sentinel journalist Austin Fuller’s apartment was flooded after the storm and the water damaged his furniture, bedding, rugs, books and clothes. His renter’s insurance won’t cover the damages. His colleague Monivette Cordeiro set up a GoFundMe to help raise money to support Austin. Join me in helping him if you can!

A retired Guild member in Puerto Rico was also impacted by the storms. Jorge L. Sepulveda lost his house to a landslide during Hurricane Fiona. Jorge worked for more than 26 years at Univision and his local UPAGRA is raising funds to help. They’re asking for folks to send checks marked for Jorge L. Sepulveda to Union de Periodistas UPAGRA, PO Box 364302, San Juan, PR 00936-4302. You can read more on how to help here.

And CWA District 3 is taking contributions to support members across the Guild and CWA in the aftermath of the hurricanes. Your contribution to the D3 Disaster Relief Fund will go directly to assist union members who have been impacted by the devastating hurricanes. Please join me in supporting this fund and helping our colleagues.

Photo editors at The Wall Street Journal are unionizing with IAPE 1096, the Guild local that represents workers at Dow Jones properties. IAPE has represented WSJ and other Dow Jones employees for more than 80 years, but WSJ photo editors have long been excluded.

89% of WSJ’s photo editors have signed cards petitioning for inclusion in the unit and IAPE members have been fighting for the photo editors through months of bargaining, but management is continuing to resist. Be sure to follow their campaign on twitter.

Workers at Forward, a source for news, opinion and culture “through a Jewish lens,” celebrated the Jewish new year in style: They won a new contract after 14 months of bargaining.

Among the improvements:

  •  Minimum salaries increase from $44k to $52k for new hires and $55k+ for current employees
  • Fellows’ minimums increase from $37k to $46k
  • Annual raises of 3%
  • Longest-tenured members get immediate raises up to 18%
  •  Average ratification bonuses of $4k

Staffers codified their dedication to fairly cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  • Required Forward to recruit workers from a Palestinian background
  • Removed a policy allowing special leave for service in Israeli Defense Forces
  • Created protections against arbitrary social media restrictions

They wrote their values into the contract, including a commitment to diverse recruitment and hiring, and a prohibition against requiring remote workers to relocate to New York.

“There is no good reason it should have taken more than a year for the company to grant these improvements,” workers tweeted. “Nor should @jdforward have spent its limited resources on @Littler, a union-busting firm that stands against our organization’s core values.”

Mazel tov, fam!

We had a major win late last week when the Federal Communications Commission asked Standard General for more information in its attempt to take over local news broadcaster TEGNA. Specifically, the FCC asked the fund for the documents we’ve been lobbying for them to get access to: agreements with their financial backers. This is a multi-billion dollar takeover and we have told the FCC it should deny it. Full stop. The deal is a job killer.

You can’t finance a multi-billion dollar deal without cutting jobs. And we cannot lose more journalists right now. We are continuing to fight this takeover because we have standing in front of the FCC since we are the largest union of journalists in North America. We’ve already lost so many jobs in newspapers over the past decade, we can’t lose more in broadcast. 

The FCC should deny this takeover.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is reportedly headed to the Senate floor for a vote, but we’re staying firm: Congress needs to improve the bill to make sure the money goes to journalists, not Wall Street. Right now there’s nothing in the bill that directs hedge funds like Alden or poorly-run firms like Gannett to invest in their newsrooms. That has to change if we’re going to actually save local news. We cannot allow companies to continue to spend millions on stock buybacks and executive compensation, while at the same time being openly hostile to journalists. The bill needs improvements by supporting jobs. We’ve been clear for a long time on this and won’t let up. Join me in reaching out to your member of Congress and letting them know: this bill needs to make sure any new money is spent on journalism jobs, not Wall Street.

We’ve got some great training sessions for Guild activists scheduled through the end of year, including a new steward training series set to on Wed with starting time west coast Guild members will appreciate. Upcoming events are listed on our calendar, with new events added frequently.

Organizing Around Grievances – 6-8 pm ET, Tues, Sept 27
Register here.

Steward Training Module 1: Steward Basics – 6-8 pm PT, Wed, Sept 28
Register here.

Steward Training Module 2: A Workplace Organizer – 6-8 PT, Wed, Oct 12
Register here.

Steward Training Module 3: A Communicator and Educator – 6-8 PT, Wed, Oct 26
Register here.

Steward Training Module 4: A Problem Solver – 6-8 PT, Wed, Nov 9
Register here.

Steward Training Module 5: A Union Representative – 6-8 PT, Wed, Nov 30
Register here.

Steward Training Module 6: Anti-Harassment Workshop – 6-8 PT, Wed, Dec 14
Register here

NewsGuild members have been making news! Here are some clips.

In solidarity,Jon Schleuss
President, NewsGuild-CWA