Five 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.
“We are concerned to learn that Gannett has engaged in anti-union campaigning and procedural delay tactics designed to exert influence and poison the union election process,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Gannett CEO Michael Reed. “Such union-busting is anathema to democracy and has no place in New Jersey, where there is a proud and long history of unionized labor.”
A union spokesperson confirmed that Gannett management is holding those meetings in a bid to stop employees from forming a union.
More than 90% of editorial staffers at The (Bergen) Record, the Daily Record and the New Jersey Herald signed a form to form a union affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York on February 10, but Gannett has not accepted their bid for voluntary recognition.
“Journalists deserve respect and dignity in the workplace, and have the right under federal law to unionize, should they freely choose that path,” the five officials said.
The Senators and House members asked Reed to “immediately instruct these papers’ leadership to refrain from further anti-union campaigning and to also abandon your claim that these newsrooms are an inappropriate unit for collective bargaining.”
“Your employees deserve to have a collective voice at the table and are legally entitled to an unimpeded, democratic union election process,” Menendez, Booker, Pascrell, Gottheimer and Sherill said in their letter. “Union representation will provide these newspaper employees with the opportunity to negotiate for better pay, benefits and job security.”
None of the Gannett newspapers, including the other seven dailies they own across the state, have reported a bid by their employees to unionize.
Dan Sforza, the executive editor of The Record and the top Gannett executive in North Jersey, did not immediately respond to a 5:16 PM request for comment.
Sforza did not respond to five previous request for comment on February 11 and 12.