Frequently Asked Questions
We are reporters, photographers, digital producers, planners and clerks from the Naples Daily News, The News-Press, The Banner and the Marco Eagle, and we are unionizing to gain a seat at the table and create a stable work environment that allows us to produce the best journalism for our communities.
Unionizing will give us the opportunity to negotiate for better pay and benefits, including higher salaries, fair overtime compensation, notice when layoffs are approaching and optional buyout periods in lieu of layoffs. As a union we can work to ensure that our newsroom maintains editorial integrity, seeks out diverse candidates for job openings, and that our leadership is transparent in their decision-making.
We’ve spent the past few months talking to our coworkers, building consensus and gaining support for our union effort. The next step is for all of us to sign union authorization cards signifying that we want to be represented by a union, which we will send to the National Labor Relations Board to start the formal process.
After we submit the cards, we will vote in an election, and if a majority of us vote in favor we will have a union. As soon as we vote yes, we enter an intermediate period known as status quo, during which all changes to our working conditions have to be negotiated, including layoffs.
Once we have a union, the most important work begins. We will come together to establish our priorities as a unit, and we will sit down at the bargaining table with Gannett to negotiate a contract in good faith. When we arrive at a strong contract that both sides agree to, we will vote again to ratify that contract. The more support and participation we have, the better our contract will be, which is why it’s important for all of us to be vocal and involved throughout the whole unionization process.
There are more than 30 unionized papers in the new Gannett, including the Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Akron Beacon Journal.
This means that employees are eligible for union contract benefits without paying union dues. Many people think that right-to-work means that it’s easier to fire employees for unionizing, which is absolutely untrue.
Toggle CoDues are about 1.38% of your base salary from each paycheck, and raises gained in first contracts usually more than cover this. This money is used to fund the NewsGuild, which supports our unit with lawyers and professional staff. It is important to note that union dues will not be taken out of our paychecks until we successfully bargain for and ratify our first contract. In addition, being in a union does not stop you from negotiating a raise individually, nor does it prevent you from getting a merit-based raise.ntent
It is against the law for management to retaliate against employees for unionizing. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employers are prohibited from discouraging an employee’s union activities – employers cannot discipline, discharge or lay off employees due to union involvement. It is also illegal for employers to refuse to hire job applicants because they are supportive of unions. Retaliation can happen despite this, but we can report illegal activity to the National Labor Relations Board, which is responsible for investigating violation charges, and ensure that any illegal actions are reversed and rectified.
Strikes in newsrooms are rare. They can happen, but only after gaining majority support from union members in a vote. A strike would not come without warning, and is often seen as a last resort. There are a variety of other ways we as a unit can show our strength.
We believe that every newsroom employee should be paid a living wage. None of us should have to work two jobs to afford to live comfortably in the city we cover while Gannett pays its top executives millions of dollars annually. If the company claims they are unable to afford the salaries we ask for in bargaining, we will ask them to prove it by showing us their books.