NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop ‘union-busting’ efforts at 3 state newspapers

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Six House and Senate Democrats are calling on Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, to stop trying to prevent its journalists at three northern New Jersey newspapers from unionizing.

New Jersey’s Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, along with Democratic Reps. Bill Pascrell, Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill and Tom Malinowski, sent a letter Wednesday to Gannett CEO Michael Reed asking him to stop blocking efforts by employees at The Record and its online counterpart, The Daily Record and New Jersey Herald who want to unionize.

“We are concerned to learn that Gannett has engaged in anti-union campaigning and procedural delay tactics designed to exert influence and poison the union election process,” the letter stated in part. “Such union-busting is anathema to democracy and has no place in New Jersey, where there is a proud and long history of unionized labor.”

Gannett did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

In the letter, lawmakers said a large majority of reporters, photographers and producers at the three publications have chosen to form a new union that would be affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003.

However, after the new union filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the lawmakers wrote; the “leadership team at these papers began conducting anti-union captive audience meetings with employees.”

“This is a clear attempt to discourage workers from exercising their statutory rights to form a union,” the Democrats said.

No other requests to unionize have been made by journalists at the seven other dailies Gannett owns in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Globe. Efforts to unionize by the Record, Herald and the Daily Record surfaced last month.

Gannett is billed as the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., which includes its flagship publication USA Today.

In December, the company said it would outsource more than 400 jobs to India. The jobs largely involved business processes such as invoicing, accounting and preparing monthly summaries.

Last April, the company said it was reducing pay and furloughing journalists at outlets across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic cut into its earnings. 

Tags Bill Pascrell Bob Menendez Cory Booker Gannett Josh Gottheimer Mikie Sherrill Tom Malinowski Unions

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