We asked for voluntary recognition!
Today, an overwhelming majority of employees in our newsroom are asking Gannett to voluntarily recognize the Arizona Republic Guild so we can begin contract negotiations as a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA.
Support for the Guild is strong. More than 70% of non-management employees have signed union authorization cards, which will pave the way to an election if Gannett does not voluntarily recognize us. The signatures have come from every corner of our newsroom, spanning all backgrounds, ages and job titles.
This is a major statement of support for protecting local journalism and preserving our Republic.
We know there is only one way to secure a voice in our workplace and strong investment in our newsroom: with a legally-protected right to negotiate our wages and working conditions. Without that, we have no seat at the table during Gannett’s massive pending merger with GateHouse and no input on decisions that affect our future.
We seek to work harmoniously with management to ensure quality journalism now and for years to come.
If Gannett denies the request for voluntary recognition, we are filing the signed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election, likely within four weeks.
The petition for an election will be withdrawn if the company agrees to recognize our Guild and begin the bargaining process. We encourage the company to save time and money that is better spent elsewhere, knowing that an election will bring about the same result. In the past 16 months, media companies across the country have voluntarily recognized guilds at the Chicago Tribune, Capital Gazette, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, The Hartford Courant and elsewhere.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT: “We value you” & “Give us another chance”
Corporations that refuse voluntary recognition often run anti-union campaigns in the weeks before, paying big bucks to consultants or attorneys that specialize in dissuading employees from forming a union. From what we’ve seen, it’s likely that Gannett is already paying anti-union consultants and running their playbook.
Despite the pressure so far from Gannett, we’ve remained united. The negative campaign has not worked. If the company requires an election, we expect the consultants to roll out the next steps in the union-busting playbook: “Give Us Another Chance” and “The Emotional Appeal.”
We may hear more praise for our work, how much the company values us and promises to implement changes.
Common tactics include:
Managers suddenly taking an interest in employees, taking them out to lunch or getting to know them outside work
One-on-one conversations that discuss career advancement or raises
Letters and emails promising to address issues
Managers leading employees to believe that the company is poised to make big improvements but can only do so if the union goes away
Suggestions that the newsroom could vote no to give the company a chance to change and bring the union back if the company doesn’t improve
The company ordering food and drinks for employees (or even a working water dispenser!)
Managers telling employees that they are hurt the newsroom is organizing or crying at meetings
The company making personal attacks on employees who help organize
Splits and factions that appear organic but are created by consultants or the company
Remember: These tactics are designed to discourage us from seeking the right to collectively bargain.
We all believe in strong working relationships with our editors and know that uniting for a beneficial contract won’t change that. In fact, we welcome the company treating employees nicely and making improvements!
But a legal right to negotiate is more solid than promises. We deserve the right to work together to secure fair wages, benefits and protections.
As always, let a colleague know if you have any questions.
EVENTS THIS WEEK
Display your pride with a logo t-shirt! If you still need one, ask Rebekah or Grace for your size.
5:30 pm Wednesday at Phoenix Public Market, 14 E. Pierce St.
Get a crash course to prep for the company’s anti-union campaign, then toast your colleagues with a $5 beer, $6 sangria or other tasty concoction!
6 pm Thursday at Fate Brewing, 201 E. Southern Ave., Tempe
Veteran journos: Raise a glass, get your questions answered and talk about the effort. Hosted by Richard.
Arizona Republic Guild Organizing Committee and The NewsGuild-CWA