Sarasota Herald-Tribune staffers moved to become one of only two unionized newsrooms in Florida Wednesday, as employees signed cards in favor of representation from the Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America.
“We give our community a voice, and we deserve one, too,” wrote organizers in a mission statement. “Journalism is honorable and worth fighting for. If we cannot stand up for ourselves, we certainly cannot stand up for anyone else. A good contract will let us do just that.”
The National Labor Relations Board will oversee an election for Herald-Tribune newsroom staff to consider unionizing within the next 40 days, according to a news release.
The Lakeland Ledger’s staff voted 22-3 in favor of a union Aug. 11. Both newspapers are owned by Pittsford, N.Y.-based GateHouse Media.
According to the release, the move to collectivize comes after layoffs and downsizing eliminated 16 employees, and the fact that some staffers haven’t received a raise in eight years. Employees said they didn’t have issues with local leadership, but were concerned with corporate oversight from GateHouse.
“We understand the Herald-Tribune is a business and want to do our part to make sure it remains successful, respectable and sustainable,” the mission statement states.