ORGANIZE WITH THE NEWSGUILD
You’ve heard the old adage – united we stand, divided we fall – and it is especially true when it comes to working in the news business. More than ever, journalists are under 24/7 pressure to produce “content,” develop a social media presence, build an audience and maintain high standards of journalistic integrity, all while fulfilling the core responsibility of reporting.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to go it alone. The NewsGuild understands the pressure journalists face — and we’re here to fight right by your side.
NewsGuild members have enforceable rights and benefits provided by their Guild contracts. We think the future of great journalism depends on people having fair pay, decent working conditions, transparency in the workplace, and editorial independence — whether you’re a writer, editor, producer, or photojournalist.
By becoming a member you are joining the largest union for news professionals in the country. The NewsGuild of New York is its biggest local, fearlessly representing nearly 3,000 journalists and other employees at New York-based news organizations and their respective bureaus. We have more than 80 years of experience improving the working conditions of media professionals across the country. We understand journalism, from print to broadcast to digital.
The media industry can be daunting and unpredictable. Working together we can build a better future, and better newsrooms, for journalists everywhere.
The NewsGuild of New York
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a union?
Simply put, a union is a group of people working together to improve their work lives through collective bargaining, working together to make decisions about their workplace. Through union membership, workers can impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, and other work-related issues. We have more power collectively than we do as individuals.
Why do we need to form a union? Aren’t there other ways to address our grievances?
Forming a union is the only way we can negotiate a legally binding contract with management that spells out our working conditions for all to see. Without such a contract, our employers can set any terms and conditions of employment they want or terminate us at any time, without cause. Management can change our pay, benefits, or schedules without our input, for instance. If we don’t like it, too bad.
What are the benefits of joining The NewsGuild of New York?
The NewsGuild is the largest union for news professionals in the country, and The NewsGuild of New York is its biggest local, representing nearly 3,000 journalists and other employees in New York and related bureaus across the country. Our members work at news organizations such as The New York Times, Reuters, The Nation, TIME Inc. and the Daily Beast. As part of the Communications Workers of America, the Guild would bring us into a powerful network of more than 700,000 CWA members nationwide.
I work at a digital news company. Don’t you just represent “legacy” journalists?
The NewsGuild has represented digital journalists since 1996. In fact, The NewsGuild of New York was the first union to negotiate a contract for digital journalists, when the New York Times first went “online”. The NewsGuild also won the first-ever digital-only contract when our sister union, The United Media Guild (then the St. Louis Newspaper Guild), organized Truthout in 2009. We’ve come a long way since then, and now represent digital journalists in most of our newsrooms, including at digital-only outlets like The Daily Beast.
While some argue that digital media companies are nothing like traditional news organizations, we firmly believe that the job of a journalist remains the same – whether you work in print, digital, or broadcast. All journalists require fair salaries and working conditions, transparent company policies, and crucially — editorial independence.
What are our legal protections during the organizing process? Can I get fired or retaliated against for helping to organize, signing a union card, or voting “yes” in an election?
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against its employees for coming together to try and improve their working conditions. The National Labor Relations Act gives you the right to organize a union in your workplace. The company is barred from retaliating, threatening, or coercing employees from doing so.
What happens after the union is certified?
Once the NewsGuild is recognized as your bargaining representative, we’ll get to work electing Unit Officers and appointing a Bargaining Committee. We’ll then send out an extensive bargaining survey polling our colleagues on what issues matter the most to them, from big to small. From there we will begin to draft contract proposals and schedule our first meeting with management to negotiate the contract. Once the bargaining committee and management reach a tentative agreement on a contract, employees will vote to accept or reject the contract. Once a majority votes yes for the contract, it is ratified.
What is “Just Cause” and why is it important?
Most workers are “at will” employees, who can be fired for any reason, at any time and without notice. But those covered by “just cause” provisions — a cornerstone of NewsGuild contracts — have the right to correct and/or challenge any alleged job performance issue, because management must have “just cause” before it can fire employees. This is critical for journalists because it gives them the right to openly, but professionally, disagree with their editors on newsroom issues without being subject to unjust reprisals.
What are NewsGuild membership dues, and when will I start paying them?
Membership dues are 1.3846 percent of base pay. Dues are not collected until our first contract is ratified. Dues support the work the union does on our behalf, which is often done at significant cost. The amount paid in dues is small in comparison with the higher pay and benefits that are usually gained through collective bargaining.
Won’t unionizing just make the workplace more antagonistic?
Having a union doesn’t mean constantly fighting with our bosses. It gives us a predictable framework for meaningfully addressing issues with management. Every workplace has simmering tensions and occasional flare-ups between managers and their subordinates. The difference is that nonunion workers have no power, while unionized workers have rights.
Sounds great, how do we get started?
To get your union started, the first thing you need to do is talk with colleagues that you know and trust and get an idea of what some of their workplace concerns are. Then you should Contact Us directly so a Guild organizer can work directly with you and your colleagues to determine the best way forward.