Newsletter: Law360 journalists walk out!

Media Guild of the West President Matt Pearce (donning his statin CWA jacket) joined comedian Adam Conover’s show Factually! for an in depth discussion on the state of journalism and how unions can play a role in safeguarding its future.

“There is a concentration of power happening in our industry where there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in countervailing power,” said Matt. “That’s one of the principles I hold close to as a unionist and journalist.”1

For union journalists, our work at the bargaining table and organizing newsrooms is not only about securing fair wages and benefits for our coworkers, it’s also about having a seat at the table for the future of an industry that we all depend on to protect democracy. Hedge funds and greedy CEOs don’t have the journalism industry’s best interest at heart, we workers do.

And those hedge fund bosses are lobbying Congress and state legislatures practically every day for tax credits and bargaining power, all while spending millions on union-busting and anti-democratic attorneys to fight thousands and thousands of journalists and media workers. 

Matt and others have been working hard to make sure legislation passed in California actually supports working journalists. “Victories we get in one state can propagate to other states,” Matt told me after testifying in Sacramento. “That’s why it’s important that NewsGuild members stay vigilant about what’s happening in your statehouse and what’s happening in other states as well.”

“Good ideas can come from anywhere,” he said.

Members of the New York Times Tech Guild – the software engineers, data analysts, project managers, product managers, and designers at The New York Times – staged a practice picket last week, coinciding with the company-wide “State of the Times” event.

The NYT Tech Guild, which boasts nearly 700 members, has been working on its first contract for two years and is facing many roadblocks from management on making significant progress on key issues including job protection and sick leave.

“Although it’s been two years since we first won our union election, management is still not bargaining in good faith,” members said in a video announcing their practice picket. “The company continues to make unlawful changes to our working conditions, has fired colleagues without good cause, and uses delay tactics like limiting bargaining time and refusing to give us information that’s necessary to engage in productive bargaining.”

Practice pickets are essential for teaching members on how to effectively run a picket line while also giving management a taste of what’s to come. For the Tech Guild, the state of their union is strike ready!

Unionized Sports Illustrated journalists are ready to work with new ownership and look forward to remaining part of the storied brand’s future. In January, every member of the Sports Illustrated Union was told they would be laid off. Earlier this month, the Sports Illustrated Union put its future publisher on notice that Sports Illustrated could not exist without the union. The workers are what make this publication. A version of Sports Illustrated produced without its union journalists would not be Sports Illustrated, but a sham and an insult.

Last week, Minute Media announced it would be the new publisher for Sports Illustrated, and the union remains committed to its demands. And so are professional athletes, whose player associations came out in support of the union.

“We have said from the start that our top priorities are to keep Sports Illustrated alive, uphold the legacy of the institution and protect our union jobs. We look forward to discussing a future with Minute Media that does that,” said Emma Baccellieri, staff writer for SI and vice chair for the SI Union. 

The Law360 Union staged a 24 hour walkout this week to protest management’s decision to layoff 26 employees in violation of labor law. Law360 and its parent company, LexisNexis, first informed workers of this layoff plan on February 15th — the same day LexisNexis Legal & Professional CEO Mike Walsh announced record-level profit and revenue growth rates for the company. On March 1, 2024, the Law360 Union filed an unfair labor practice charge for proposing layoffs under the union’s expired contract, which reached the end of its term on Dec. 31, 2022. Law360 must bargain these layoffs in good faith as part of a complete contract and reinstate the union’s colleagues after a year of high revenue and profit growth.

Here’s how you can support:

> Share the petition demanding Law360 stop breaking the law

> Amplify the walkout on social media

> Donate to the Law360 Union layoff hardship fund

> Donate to the Law360 Union strike fund to support workers who lost pay

Our family at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette entered their 17th month on strike. And it’s the second tax season folks are facing. Folks are looking at big bills due to the IRS for the strike pay they received last year and for all the other hardship money they’ve received from your generosity. If you can, please donate anything to support our family fighting to hold the boss to account. We are stronger together and will continue to stand with our family in Pittsburgh. Join me in doing just that.

Journalists organized with the South Bend NewsGuild in Indiana have reached a historic two-year collective bargaining agreement—the first since newsroom staff voted to form a union in 2020. Under the agreement, the company has committed to filling long-vacant positions, and workers will receive raises, among other benefits.

“Across the board, I think it’s about a 14 percent [raise]. Some people are higher. Some people are lower,” said unit member Gayle Bell of Local 34071. “So we were really pleased with that. We feel like we got good jurisdiction language, good layoff language.”

The South Bend Tribune is owned by Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain. We here at the NewsGuild represent approximately 1,400 workers at Gannett papers across 50 bargaining units.

Unionized journalists at The Desert Sun, the Coachella Valley’s daily newspaper, voted overwhelmingly to ratify the first contract in the paper’s nearly 100-year history. That contract, which will include an average immediate raise of 16.5% for all members, will go into effect soon.

In early March, Desert Sun journalists launched an open-ended strike over the company’s refusal to offer fair wages and adequate healthcare. The strike – which was the 25th strike organized by NewsGuild members in 2024 – lasted two days before management settled the contract, proving that when we organize, we win! The Desert Sun is also a Gannett paper, and we are grateful for every contract win that will help raise the standards for all Gannett papers in their contract fights.

New Jersey lawmakers have put a bill designed to restrict the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) on hold after more than 1,000 CWA members in New Jersey mobilized and took action to stop this ill-conceived bill from being rushed through the legislative process. State lawmakers have vowed to consider feedback from stakeholders before moving forward with the bill. And who are those stakeholders? Journalists who rely on public records requests to write and publish stories that educate and inform the public.

“OPRA is a critical resource for reporters, and therefore every New Jersey resident, to understand how our governments are operating,” said Teri West, a reporter at the Jersey Journal and unit chair of the Jersey Journal Guild. “Now is a time to double down on transparency and access, not to build a shield.”

MarketWatch’s New York staff announced they have formed a union and are joining their colleagues at locations across the U.S. already represented by IAPE!

MarketWatch staff in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Washington have been represented by IAPE since 2006, and up until this announcement, the New York newsroom was the largest remaining non-union MarketWatch operation.

“We are excited to welcome these new members to IAPE,” said Local 1096 President, Jodi Green. “We believe the proper union home for our colleagues is in the same bargaining unit as their fellow MarketWatchers working in other offices.”

IAPE TNG-CWA Local 1096 is calling on Dow Jones management to voluntarily recognize the representation demand from their MarketWatch employees.

The Marshall Project Guild received voluntary recognition from management on March 15! The Marshall Project Guild represents roughly 50 members — across the business and editorial sides of the rapidly-growing news organization, as part of the NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003.

The Marshall Project is the latest in a wave of nonprofit news organizations that have joined the NewsGuild-CWA, including the Texas Tribune, ProPublica, Houston Landing, Long Beach Post, and the Markup.

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