Monday night, the Chicago News Guild Executive Committee— with representatives from the Sun-Times, The Reader, Pioneer Press, and non-newspaper units we represent— voted unanimously to support TNG’s effort, and our local staff and member volunteers, like Local President Grace Catania, will be involved in promoting legislation to support newspapers in Illinois and across the US. No individual member will be asked to do anything that would violate the terms of our contract, employee handbooks or journalistic ethics.
The NewsGuild-CWA has started a petition to make Members of Congress aware of the battle that we are fighting to keep journalism essential during this pandemic. We seek to include the journalism industry in the next stimulus package. We need your help supporting this initiative! Please click the link below to sign and share the petition.
Below is a draft of the union’s demands:
Acknowledgement that accurate, reliable local, regional and national journalism is an essential service that provides life-saving information in this crisis.
2. Public financing for local journalism: the federal government should establish a publicly financed fund to support newsrooms and media workers to prevent layoffs.
Such a fund would also serve to promote local journalism in news deserts in all 50 states and territories to supplement or fund additional positions in private-sector news organizations, but not be used to replace existing employees. This fund would also support independent reporting in partnership with other news organizations.
fund should be regulated to ensure news organizations remain independent and workers should be involved in any such public funding mechanism.
Any employer taking public funds must:
● Remain independent from partisan influence
● Demonstrate financial need and report on how
they used the funding later on.
● Be prohibited from using public money for
executive bonuses, dividends or stock
buybacks for five years. Any company taking public funds may not allow executive bonuses, stock options, or golden
parachutes for five years. Executive compensation should be capped at twice that of the editor in chief.
● Be prohibited for five years from engaging
in mergers and acquisition activity or leveraged buyouts that result in job losses or pay reductions.
● Adhere to the terms of public financing or
be subject to a claw back of any public funds, including interest and penalties.
4. No layoffs, no furloughs, no buyouts or pay cuts: In this crisis, it’s essential that we invest in and retain journalists and other media workers, especially in local communities where Americans need to know when schools and businesses are open, where testing centers are and what the current case and death totals are. The financialization of the industry has reduced the number of journalists available to share life-saving information during this crisis. This cannot be allowed to continue.
5. Workers’ rights must be recognized and supported: Any employer taking public funds must not interfere with union organizing campaigns and should be prohibited from hiring anti-union consultants for the purposes of quashing worker organizing drives. These employers should be barred from forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings on work time. Employers should be required to accept third-party voluntary recognition if a majority of the bargaining unit signs authorization cards.
employer taking public funds should be required to agree to interest arbitration for first contracts for newly organized units. Further, any employer taking public funds (and any successors) will not abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements, as well
as tentative agreements and expired CBAs, in whole or in part, for at least five years after receiving public funding, or two years after completing repayment of any loan. Any employer negotiating a first or successor collective bargaining agreement shall
remain committed to bargaining in good faith to quickly reach an agreement.
Promote diversity and equity
the interest of supporting and advancing diversity, any employer taking public funds should be required to implement plans intended to advance diversity across their staff and report their annual diversity statistics.
Board seats for employees
employer owned by public corporations or private equity firms taking public funds should be required to designate one quarter of Board seats to be held by non-management employees, who will be selected by mutual agreement between labor and management.
Loans for non-profit startups
Small Business Administration should make available an indefinite program of no-interest loans for the creation of news start-ups, including nonprofits and employee-owned co-ops.
Any plan must further assist the news industry by:
● Making tax-deductible the cost of subscriptions
for any news product.
● Providing incentives for local ownership to
encourage chains to sell to local owners and
● Establishing a nationwide advertising purchasing
program to promote public health,
participation in the federal census and other topics of national interest.