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Gannett newsroom launches bid to unionize

In advance of sale to GateHouse, Arizona Republican employees seek to form a union

By David Wildstein, September 04 2019 2:53 pm

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The proposed acquisition of Gannett by GateHouse Media has led newsroom staffers at the Arizona Republic to begin a path toward unionization.

The Arizona newspaper is one of the largest newspapers in the Gannett chain.

The Washington Post speculated today that the Republic’s bid to form a union “may signal a broader effort to unionize papers before the deal to combine the two chains is completed.”

A Phoenix-based online news site reported on Tuesday that a Gannett human resources official confiscated the work phone of one Republic reporter involved in the bid to form a union.

The reporter, Rebekah Sanders, alleged that she was interrogated about her union activity by a Gannett employee.

“I was interrogated by a Gannett HR rep about my unionizing activity,” Sanders said in a post on her personal Facebook page.  “Afterward, the rep demanded I give her my work cell. I asked how I would conduct interviews the rest of the day. She said, ‘You won’t.’ I asked when I could have it back. She said she would let me know. My work cell has all of my contacts and is an integral part of my job.

A New York law firm that specializes in investor rights announced last month that they are investigating whether the sale of Gannett is a fair price for company shareholders and if the terms abide by federal securities law.

Gannett owns eight New Jersey daily newspapers: The (Bergen) Record, the Herald News, the Daily Record, the Home News Tribune, the Asbury Park Press, the Courier-News, the Courier-Post, and the Daily Journal.

GateHouse owns the Burlington County Times and NJBIZ and is under contract to purchase the New Jersey Herald.

It is not known whether any of the Gannett or GateHouse newspapers are considering unionization in advance of the sale.

Dan Sforza, the executive editor of The (Bergen) Record, the Daily Record and two New York Gannett papers, did not immediately respond to a 2:15 PM request for comment.

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