A group of digital producers for 37 Gannett news sites in New Jersey and four other states have voted to unionize, the second group of Gannett employees to form a labor union this year.
The Atlantic Digital Optimization Team (DOT) Guild is now part of the rapidly expanding NewsGuild, the same union that staffers for the Bergen Record, Daily Record and New Jersey Herald joined. The new union includes Gannett staffers from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.
Digital producers from the three North Jersey newspapers had sought to join The Record Guild, but Gannett was able to fight their eligibility.
When The Atlantic DOT Guild first sought to unionize, Gannett refused to voluntarily recognize the union, forcing employees to hold a vote.
“Gannett tried like hell to keep this from happening, alongside its anti-union law firm, and it was all for naught,” the union said on twitter. “Here we stand, the Atlantic DOT Guild. We will not be intimidated.”
In public statements, the Atlantic DOT Guild organizers complained of their treatment by Gannett.
“Many of us were ‘invited’ to reapply for jobs amid a pandemic, furloughs and layoffs as the company restructured its digital production into the Atlantic Digital Optimization Team,” union organizers said. “This sudden restructuring, which meant compounded responsibilities and an overall increase in workload, did not come with a commensurate increase in pay or job security, leaving us uncertain about our jobs and our future with the company. We have voiced our concerns and made suggestions to management, but they have gone unacknowledged.”
In June, the NewsGuild filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
Earlier this year, New Jersey lawmakers today told Gannett to stop interfering with the right of reporters at three North Jersey newspapers to unionize.
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) accused Gannett of holding anti-union captive audience meetings with their employees.