Staff at Austin American-Statesman announce plans to unionize

Journalists at the Austin American-Statesman and its six community newspapers have announced that they are taking steps to unionize at the 150-year-old institution.

A majority of the papers’ reporters, photographers, columnists, and other employees have joined in asking Gannett, the paper’s parent company, to voluntarily recognize the Austin NewsGuild.

In a news release, organizers say the Austin NewsGuild, a unit of the NewsGuild-CWA, will work to create stability for the papers’ journalists and strengthen the coverage they provide for readers in an increasingly unstable industry, one plagued by budget cuts, layoffs, a lack of diversity, and dwindling resources.

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A majority of union-eligible employees across the seven newsrooms have reportedly signed their names to a mission statement outlining the goals and vision of their union. They're asking to have a seat at the table when it comes to decisions that impact the future of the newspapers.

Journalists at the American-Statesman submitted a letter to newsroom leadership seeking voluntary recognition of its union effort which would bypass the need for an election, saving time and money for both the company and its staff. 

Organizers say if Gannett doesn't voluntarily recognize then there will be an election.

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The NewsGuild-CWA is the largest union of journalists and other communications employees in North America, representing more than 24,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada.