Tell Gannett to protect its local journalists
As journalists, it’s our job to ask officials the tough questions, to make sense of an increasingly complicated world, to report on what is happening around your community with truth and accuracy — pandemic or not.
These are our communities, too, and we want to continue to provide this service for the good of us all.
But the staffs represented by Palm Beach News Guild, Southwest Florida News Guild and Delaware News Guild need not just the protections but the authority a certified union would provide when dealing with the papers’ corporate owners, Gannett. And every step of the way, Gannett has fought our requests or simply ignored them.
That’s why we’re asking you — our readers, neighbors and supporters of local journalism — to tell Gannett leadership why they must support our voices in the newsroom so we can continue being yours.
Gannett announced in March it would impose three one-week furloughs on all employees who earn more than $38,000. That translates to a 25% pay cut for us, and fewer journalists looking out for you.
We would have been able to bargain over these furloughs, and other job conditions, had we been certified as a union. But the pandemic postponed our elections, and Gannett still refused to voluntarily recognize our unions.
Gannett could speed this process by voluntarily recognizing these guilds now, or getting out of the way of a fair vote. If it is truly interested in fulfilling its role as the fourth estate, then its leaders will agree that it will not cut staff, not impose paycuts or furloughs without first consulting our guilds and will provide the necessary support to allow us to work from home or in the field.
Gannett’s move to order personal protective gear has been a welcome, if meager start. But our other demands have been met with silence.
Local journalism is needed now more than ever.
While we accept that these are difficult financial times for the newspaper business, this is not a valid reason for Gannett to ignore our requests. Maybe they won’t ignore yours.