Two Gannett Newsrooms in Georgia to Unionize
Georgia Gannett NewsGuild
Savannah, GA — Journalists from the Athens Banner-Herald and the Savannah Morning News are proud to announce we are unionizing under the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America. This is the first time a Georgia newspaper has unionized under the NewsGuild.
Our announcement comes the same day the NewsGuild has called for a “No Confidence” vote among shareholders against Gannett CEO Mike Reed, who has overseen the layoffs of thousands of journalists and a widespread exodus of top-ranking news staff. We are proud to stand among more than 1,500 organized Gannett journalists and demand reform for our organization.
We consist of two units — Athens and Savannah — who are hoping to formalize our union in the very near future, whether through voluntary recognition from Gannett or with a vote of 13 eligible members. If successful, we will begin to negotiate with Gannett Corporate for a fair contract.
Last year, Gannett laid off six Georgia employees, including reporters who covered government, education and the National Championship-winning Georgia Bulldogs football team. In addition to unpaid furloughs during the 2022 Christmas holiday, Gannett cut benefits to all employees. Just last week, Gannett dissolved the Georgia GO Team that was formed last summer to cover statewide news, shifting the journalists’ roles as the company realigns to focus on hyperlocal news. Across the state, low wages remain stagnant as cost-of-living and inflation soars, making the job we love to do untenable.
Even with burdensome conditions, we serve our local and statewide communities with critical news coverage, changemaking investigations and arresting visuals. We are journalists because we want to make our communities a more equitable, inclusive and fun place to live and work. We are unionizing to ensure our own newsrooms are as equitable, fair and supportive as the stories we cover everyday. Andrew Shearer, a 25-year veteran reporter at the Athens Banner-Herald, said, “I am choosing to unionize because I want the Athens community to rest assured knowing that I will continue to serve them no matter who owns their local newspaper.”
Attached, please find a mission statement signed by newsroom employees interested in affiliating with The NewsGuild. It concludes: “We consider a union an investment in our newsroom and community. Better pay, better working conditions and a seat at the table through a union will improve not only our lives but our communities as well. We are asking for Gannett to formally recognize our union, but if it does not, we will vote and we will win.”
About the NewsGuild-CWA:
The NewsGuild is a century-old organization with members working in all aspects of print and digital media. It consists of more than 26,000 members across the country, whom they aid in a fight for justice in the workplace and the industry at-large.