Newsletter: So much organizing!

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Tomorrow, March 9, is Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day. Please join the Guild as we mark the day by joining a Twitter storm at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PT; 12 p.m. MT; and 1 p.m. CT).

Pay inequities are rampant in our newsrooms. Studies conducted by our units at news organizations across the country consistently reveal troubling facts: Women and people of color are paid less on average than their white, male counterparts.

March 9 symbolizes the fact that in the U.S., Asian American and Pacific Islander women must work well into 2021 to catch up to what white men earned in 2020.

Click here for sample tweets and here for graphics. And please share your personal experiences with pay disparities by writing your own. (Please be sure to tag @NewsGuild.)

The union organizing surge is going strong!

Journalists at the Austin American-Statesman voted 36-12 in favor of forming the Austin NewsGuild. The Austin Guild is the third new unit in Texas since November, following wins at the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Just six months ago, no Texas publications were unionized! The Statesman is owned by Gannett, and the win there also increases the union’s strength within the chain.

Comedy educators at The Second City in Toronto, Canada, voted 99-2 to unionize on Feb. 25, just nine days after filing an application for recognition with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The new unit, the Association of International Comedy Educators (AICE), will be part of CWA Canada, which is part of The NewsGuild-CWA.

More than 200 other Second City comedy educators in Chicago and Hollywood filed for union recognition with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, a process that typically takes weeks or months. That’s a good example of what’s wrong with U.S. labor law. In Chicago, AICE members will be part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and, in Hollywood, Local 9400 of the CWA.

The staff at four Washington state publications got good news, too: McClatchy, the papers’ parent company, voluntarily recognized the Washington State NewsGuild on Feb. 25, one day after the NLRB ruled that the four McClatchy-owned papers could form a single bargaining unit.

Journalists at the Southern California News Group announced they are forming the SCNG Guild at 11 daily newspapers and more than a dozen weekly publications across four counties last month.

The SCNG is owned by Alden Global Capital’s MediaNews Group, the hedge fund that is notorious for slashing newsroom budgets to the bone.

Ryan Hagen, local government reporter, said, “Our communities depend on good journalism, and good journalism depends on good journalists. Every year we have less of both, but we can fix that together. Unionized, we can ensure that our co-workers keep their jobs, our stories get the time they deserve, and our communities get the journalism they deserve.

Also last month, workers at HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Quebec announced they are forming HuffPost Canada Union. The filing is part of a wave of unionization among Canadian digital media employees. Workers at BuzzFeed Canada, VICE Canada, Canada’s National Observer, and Canadaland have also joined CWA Canada in the last two years.

The journalists of the Record Guild got some high-profile support last week when two U.S. senators and four U.S. representatives urged Gannett to stop union-busting, obey the law, and recognize their union. “Your employees deserve to have a collective voice at the table and are legally entitled to an unimpeded, democratic union election process,” they wrote. “Union representation will provide these newspaper employees with the opportunity to negotiate for better pay, benefits and job security. We respectfully ask that you honor your employees’ rights and refrain from any further anti-union tactics.”

The NewsGuild joined other media unions from around the world condemning Facebook’s removal of news stories in Australia and calling for a better approach to making platforms pay a fair share.We rejoined the International Federation of Journalists last year and the relationship has paid off.

After eight arduous months of bargaining, members of the Timesland News Guild reached a tentative agreement with Lee Enterprises last week on a first contract for the journalists of the Roanoke Times.

The contract includes 2% raises for most Guild members; additional raises for about a quarter of union members, which union bargainers called “long-overdue steps to address salary inequities;” a stronger severance package and better parental leave policies.

Members of the Boston Newspaper Guild have been fighting hard for a good contract at the Boston Globe, mobilizing their members and asking the public for support.

After more than a year-and-a-half without an agreement, in August, workers took their protest to Boston’s Fenway Park, whose Red Sox are owned by John and Linda Henry, the owners of the Globe.

In January, they launched to build more public support. In mid-February, they took “a lunch break for solidarity” to build support within their ranks. And when the Globe’s high-priced Jones Day lawyer told them to get on board with the company’s contract proposals – proposals that would undermine job security and damage the Globe – they responded with a torrent of responses in the company’s Slack channel. Follow their fight to win a fair contract.

Must reads:

Nieman Lab asks, With the Loss of Physical Newsrooms, How are Young Journalists Faring? Here’s one answer: “I used to eavesdrop on interviews that other reporters were doing over the phone and listen to them talk to each other about stories they were developing. It was the best learning experience as a professional reporter,” she says. “I can’t imagine starting as a reporter not having that experience right now.”

In The ‘audacious lie’ behind a hedge fund’s promise to sustain local journalismWashington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan writes, “Those who know anything about local journalism in America are in general agreement: Being bought by Alden is the worst possible fate for the newspapers and the communities involved.”

In solidarity,

Jon Schleuss
President, NewsGuild-CWA