Who We Are
We are an overwhelming majority of the reporters, the photographers, the copy editors and the desk editors of The Florida Times-Union who work to produce the best journalism we can. We’re seeking to establish a union with the NewsGuild-CWA to give employees a voice in the future of Florida’s oldest newspaper.
Why We’re Organizing
The workers of The Florida Times-Union intend to unionize with the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America. We are doing so to protect the mission of the newspaper – to expose injustices, to explore the nuances of modern life and keep a watchful eye over those in power. We cannot fulfill that mission without demanding the same transparency at our own workplace and from our own corporate owners.
It is the men and women of the newsroom who make this newspaper so special, yet our current and past owners have actively harmed the newsroom. Our objective is to preserve a level of dignity for those who work to produce a newspaper that has value. We don’t just work in Northeast Florida; we live here. This is our community, too, and we believe that it deserves a vibrant, ambitious newspaper.
The workers of The Times-Union alongside local management have strived in the face of newsroom cuts to produce the best journalism possible. But the recent purchase of Florida’s oldest newspaper by GateHouse Media, which is part of a publicly traded company based in New York, has brought more uncertainty perhaps than any other time in the newspaper’s 154-year history. A union contract will ensure that the reporters, photographers, editors and support staff of The Times-Union have a say in the future of our newspaper. A union contract will also force the paper’s owner, GateHouse Media, to deal directly with its employees.
Our union is under no illusion that revenues associated with the news business will magically improve, and that is precisely why we have decided to unite our voices. We fear that GateHouse’s short-term strategies will lead to more and more cuts in the future. As of today, there are fewer than 40 full-time employees working across the Times-Union newsroom in metro, opinion, life, sports, photo and the copy desk – a third of the staff we had just five years ago. Once-filled desks now sit empty.
There will be tough times ahead. A union won’t necessarily stop that. But a strong contract will help to protect the work of the men and women who report, edit, photograph and put together the stories of the newspaper. In this way, a strong contract will help to preserve good jobs and impactful journalism in Jacksonville.
What we want:
- To gain a seat at the table
For too long, under Morris and under GateHouse, we have come to work waiting for a shoe to drop, waiting to be called into an office, waiting to learn of layoffs. We have had no say in the future of our own newspaper, and the disconnect between corporate and the newsroom is vast. We believe the success of The Florida Times-Union depends on its editorial staff. We must be a part of GateHouse’s decision-making processes to ensure we are not overlooked.
- To ensure fair wages, appropriate severance and stable benefits
We want to ensure The Florida Times-Union prioritizes the retention of its employees through a strong contract that includes fair wages and affordable health insurance. We want to ensure that new employees and veterans alike feel they have a long-term future in Jacksonville.
- To preserve workers rights
Newsroom workers deserve the right to speak about their workplace without fear of reprisal. A strong union can ensure our independence. We insert democracy into the workplace mainly through the protections and communication guaranteed in a contract.
How to Support Us
Subscribe. If you can afford a print subscription, buy one. If you can’t, buy a digital subscription. If you already have one, then buy one for a friend or a family member or a neighbor. To do that, go to http://www.jacksonville.com/subscribenow.
The Florida Times-Union can’t exist without public support, and the workers who labor to produce quality journalism can’t continue to do so unless you pay for our work.
Contact the union at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow us at @TimesUnionGuild
Read our stories on Jacksonville.com.