The newest Gannett Guild: ‘It’s time to return local journalism to the people’

Journalists at three Gannett-owned publications in central New Jersey voted to be represented by The NewsGuild of New York Local 31003 in a vote supervised by the National Labor Relations Board that concluded on Thursday.

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. “It’s time to return local journalism to the people,” they said.

They plan to advocate for greater diversity in hiring and coverage, and more protections against cuts in staff, wages and benefits.

Gannett has gutted the newsrooms in recent years, reducing a staff that once numbered in the hundreds to fewer than 50. The remaining journalists are now tasked with covering the news for more than 3 million residents of central Jersey and the Jersey shore.

“This is a great and historic day for the staff and readers,” said Mike Davis, a reporter at Asbury Park Press. “Unionizing these newspapers has been a long time coming. After decades of stagnant wages and brutal job losses, now we have the power to advocate for a better workplace, a better newsroom and, in turn, better journalism.”

Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York, said, “I am incredibly proud to represent the workers at APP-MCJ Guild who have organized to improve their newsroom and to save local news for their families, their neighbors, and their communities. I look forward to Gannett management coming to the table without delay so that we can begin negotiations for a first contract that will strengthen local news and lift standards across the industry for everyone.”

The APP-MCJ Guild joins more than 6,000 media professionals across the country who have organized with The NewsGuild-CWA since 2018.

There has been a groundswell of union organizing at the Gannett chain, the nation’s biggest, in the last two years. The APP-MCJ Guild is the 12th new Guild unit at Gannett-owned publications. The others are:

  • On Sept. 17, 2021, journalists at The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times, and Herald-Record in New York voted to form Hudson Valley News Guild.
  • 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.

Follow the APP-MCJ Guild on Twitter @appmcjguild.