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MD Higher Education Commission
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The Capital and other community papers move to unionize

| November 14, 2018
Rams Head

Employees of The Capital are pressing to unionize.  Citing low wages and underinvestment in the newsroom, the employees of The Capital, Carroll County Times, and the Baltimore Sun Media Group (BSMG) are asking parent company Tribune Publishing to voluntarily recognize the Chesapeake News Guild as a unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A letter to colleagues of the papers was posted online today (below)!

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Capital reporter Phil Davis says that the guild would represent 50 employees and 36 have agreed to support the effort. Danielle Ohl, another reporter cited the low wages saying that a $40,000 annual salary in the newsroom was rare. And one of the largest issues for reporters is that there is an imaginary line between the unionized Baltimore Sun and the non-unionized Baltimore Sun Media Group. While a Sun employee can go directly to a colleague, a BSMG employee needs to jump through hoops to do the same.

It is unknown what effect, if any, this will have on Tribune Publishing’s quest to sell.  Tribune Publishing is believed to be evaluating 3 bids for the company.

Dear colleagues,

We, the journalists of the Capital Gazette, the Carroll County Times and the Baltimore Sun Media Group, are uniting to form a union.

Local journalism is unique. We are your neighbors, the eyes and ears of your communities. We report on what matters most to you every day: the crime down the block, the local football team, your child’s school. Whether the sun shines or disaster strikes, we are right there with you. As local news outlets dwindle, we know now more than ever that quality community news is a gift too precious to lose.

But that important work grows more difficult each day because of decisions made by distant corporate owners on behalf of shareholders. Decisions that have led to smaller newsrooms, stagnant wages and limited resources.

After years of our company underinvesting in our newsrooms, we are tired.

We are tired of bearing a workload that requires a newsroom four times the size. We are tired of not receiving reasonable cost of living raises, despite the fact we bear the additional responsibilities of our former co-workers. We are tired of having staffs too small to cover all the stories our readers care about.

We’ve watched talented colleagues leave jobs they love in order to afford a house, or start a family, or just live without the constant threat of layoffs. Nobody should have to choose between doing a job they love and having people they love.

So we aren’t waiting for someone else to make decisions that affect the communities we cover, communities in which those decision-makers have never set foot.

Together, as the Chesapeake News Guild, we are fighting for change.

We want respect for the work we do and a living wage to go along with it. We want real investment in our newsrooms and the people who make them work. We want a seat at the table.

That is why we are asking Tribune Publishing, our parent company, to voluntarily recognize us as a unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. We believe in the future of journalism, and we hope Tribune will join us in building that future.

Together, we will fight to protect local journalism – because no community is too small. Please join us.

—The Chesapeake News Guild Organizing Committee

Rams Head

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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