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S.F. Bay Area MediaNews Group Employees File to Unionize

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

S.F. Bay Area MediaNews Group Employees File to Unionize

Article excerpt

Nine months after MediaNews Group withdrew recognition of the Newspaper Guild unit at its Alameda Newspaper Group outside San Francisco, employees there and at five sister newspapers have petitioned for a new union vote.

Organizers of the union effort at the Bay Area News Group-East Bay (BANG-EB) papers, which represent nine MediaNews Group dailies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday for a vote to certify the new combined union.

Sara Steffens, a reporter with the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., said more than half of the 250 newsroom employees at the BANG-EB papers signed guild authorization cards stating they wish to have guild representation. NLRB rules require that 30% of eligible union employees sign such cards before a vote can be held.

"I'm incredibly proud to be part of our newsrooms today," said Steffens, a co-chair of the guild campaign. "It's heartening to see so many of us come together, during these turbulent times in our industry, saying 'We deserve a seat at the table.' Tough decisions need to be made, but we want to be part of building our future."

BANG-EB Publisher John Armstrong said he had not seen anything about the NLRB filing, but added, "if it has been filed and if we have an election, I would hope the employees would do what is best for them and best for the company -- to remain union-free." He declined to comment further on that statement.

Steffens said those signing guild cards seek representation by the Northern California Media Workers Guild, a local of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. A separate guild local already represents MediaNews employees at the nearby San Jose Mercury News.

MediaNews in August withdrew recognition of the former Alameda Newspaper Guild, which represented some 130 staffers at the six-paper ANG, including the Oakland Tribune. …

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