News Journal/Delaware Online.com employees have announced plans to unionize.
According to the site two/thirds of the journalists at the Gannett newspaper have signed up for union representation by the Communications Workers of America.
The website contained the following statement:
Our newsroom, like many others, has endured countless rounds of layoffs and cuts. This, combined with growing health care costs, stagnant salaries and constant staff turnover makes it difficult to maintain the high caliber of journalism that we strive for — and that Delawareans deserve.
The merger of Gannett and Gatehouse Media — both of which have histories of putting profits before the mission of journalism — has created an entirely new company. This is not the same Gannett, which only heightens the uncertainty we already face in our industry.
We want a say in the corporate decisions made about our staff and how we do our jobs. We deserve to have a seat at the table.
The News Journal has seen sporadic efforts to organize the newsroom.
However, the effort never gained traction among veteran staff members. Moreover, the News Journal had room to pay more, since it was one of the more profitable Gannett newspapers, since it had limited advertising competition from TV stations
The News Journal was also considered to be a stepping-stone for younger journalists who moved on to bigger newspapers that were often unionized.
The News Journal staff is not alone in seeking to negotiate with Gannett. In a Twitter post, staffers at the Idaho Statesmen congratulated their counterparts in Delaware.
In recent years, the ranks of veteran reporters and editors has been slashed through a series of downsizings and buyouts.
Their replacements have been comprised of reporters with a few years of experience and lower pay scales.
As noted in the statement above newspaper giants Gatehouse and Gannett merged, with cost cuts made in corporate functions. Management indicated that cuts in reporting positions would be minimal.
The combined company owns the bulk of all newspapers in Delaware, with Gatehouse operating weekly papers and websites in all three counties in Delaware.