Hudson Valley Unites and Unionizes: Workers at The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times Herald-Record have formed a union
Hudson Valley editorial workers have organized to fight for local news and address issues regarding pay, diversity, and job security
New York — This morning, the editorial employees of Gannett-owned publications in the Hudson Valley — The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times and Herald-Record announced that they have unionized with the NewsGuild of New York. With over 80% of eligible staffers signed on, the Hudson Valley News Guild has requested voluntary recognition from Gannett management.
The Hudson Valley News Guild joins thousands of media professionals across the country who have organized with The NewsGuild-CWA to preserve and protect their local outlets. Workers at several Gannett-owned publications — including workers at the the South Bend Tribune, the Palm Beach Daily News, and the Arizona Republic — have organized to fight for their newsrooms. The Hudson Valley News Guild, following the Record Guild and the Atlantic DOT Guild, is the third Gannett unit in the region to organize with the NewsGuild of New York this year.
Union members of the Hudson Valley News Guild are pushing for job security and for greater protections against reduction in force and wage and benefit cuts, especially as media companies continue to slash newsroom staff and put stakeholder profit over the workers and their communities.
“I have been lucky to work in my community, for my community. We are organizing to ensure fair wages and reliable benefits so we can attract and retain new staff members who add to our diversity and perspective,” said Nancy Cutler, Reporter, The Journal News.
“For generations, the three papers represented by our union have been trusted allies to the distinct communities they serve. Our organizing effort is the best way to strengthen that alliance in the face of Gannett’s drive to regionalization,” said Peter Kramer, Reporter, The Journal News.
"Our state's oldest newspaper is being kept alive by a small group of dedicated professionals who are seeking to maintain their editorial independence, which fits with the character of the region we serve,” said Patrick Oehler, Photographer, Poughkeepsie Journal. “By forming a union we hope to continue to serve our readers as best as we can guided by our paper's motto: 'Here shall the press the people's right maintain'."
“I’m proud to welcome the editorial workers of The Hudson Valley News Guild into our union,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “These workers are fighting for stronger local news in the Hudson Valley and more diverse newsrooms that can continue to be a critical lifeline and watchdog for our local communities. We call on Gannett for swift recognition so that we can begin negotiations for a first contract and ensure that the collective voice of these workers, and the interest of readers, are heard, and respected.”
The News Guild of New York recently filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against Gannett over union-busting at the Atlantic DOT.
The Hudson Valley News Guild Mission Statement:
The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times Herald-Record have formed a union to continue telling your stories.
As reporters, photographers and editorial staff at The Journal News (lohud.com), Poughkeepsie Journal (poughkeepsiejournal.com), and Middletown Times Herald-Record (recordonline.com), we bear witness to our readers’ lives, hold the powerful accountable, and amplify the voices of diverse and underrepresented communities. It is a role we take seriously.
Decisions by corporate owners at Gannett in Virginia have undermined our efforts to fulfill this mission. We have formed a union with the NewsGuild of New York to advocate for ourselves, our profession and those we serve.
Despite dwindling resources, we have captured three groundswell moments in our communities: the global pandemic, the economic downturn, and a long-overdue reckoning on race. The Gannett CFO was given a $600,000 bonus for working through the pandemic. We were given the “collective sacrifice” of unpaid furloughs, a vanishing 401(k) match, and advice on buying bike helmets to cover protests.
We have watched our newsrooms atrophy through layoffs and corporate cuts. The wages offered for vacant positions do not reflect living in one of the nation’s most-expensive regions. Our health-care options are limited and costly.
In Poughkeepsie and Middletown, local autonomy has vanished, along with staff, in the name of regionalization. The once-proud Rockland Journal-News, a fixture for 169 years, no longer has offices in the county it serves.
The consolidation is not in the service of local journalism, but at the convenience of corporate cost-cutting. What is lost is the local voice, the sense of place, and what it means to live here.
As a union:
We stand for newsrooms as diverse as the readers they serve.
We stand for respect and dignity for our journalists, for fair wages, well-defined minimum levels of pay and a transparent and standardized system for promotion and pay increases.
We stand against unjust terminations and reductions in force, against unilateral changes and cuts to retirement plans, against unreasonable workloads and demands.
We stand against freelanced “pay-to-play stories” on behalf of advertisers.
We stand with the NewsGuild in a wave of successful union organizing in Gannett newsrooms across the country to save local news and ensure a seat at the table when decisions are made.
There is no journalism without journalists.
By recognizing our union now, and immediately beginning the negotiation process, Gannett can demonstrate its commitment to the power of local news. Our readers deserve no less.
Saba Ali Mark Ferdinand Michael McKinney
Jonathan Bandler Shaniquah Gabino John Meore
Frank Becerra Sophie Grosserode Vincent Mercogliano
Lana Bellamy Nancy Haggerty Patrick Oehler
Peter Carr Seth Harrison David Propper
Heather Clark Stephen Haynes Mike Randall
Albert Conte Isabel Keane Eugene Rapay
Katelyn Cordero Peter D. Kramer Tania Savayan
Nancy Cutler Steve Lieberman Asher Stockler
Marc Davis Anthony Martelli Mark Vergari
Diana Dombrowski David McKay Wilson Geoffrey Wilson
Mike Dougherty Chris McKenna Thomas Zambito
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 4,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
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