WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Journalists at The Palm Beach Post and The Palm Beach Daily News moved Tuesday to unionize their newsrooms, formally requesting voluntary recognition of their newly formed guild from the newspapers’ parent company, Gannett.
More than 85 percent of the newsrooms’ approximately 70 non-managerial employees signed union authorization cards during the past week, signaling broad consensus that a unionized newsroom would better position the papers to navigate a fast-changing media environment.
In a mission statement delivered Tuesday to the papers’ interim publisher, newsroom representatives asked that Gannett recognize the Palm Beach News Guild as a unit of The NewsGuild, a sector of the Communications Workers of America, with the aim to “preserve our role as a resource in our community, a voice for the voiceless and a watchdog that holds the powerful accountable.”
Having a greater collective voice will allow journalists to collaborate more closely with editors and executives in ensuring that journalistic and community interests remain at the forefront when business decisions are made, newsroom representatives said.
“We’re confident that a democratic landscape will protect our journalists, editors, newspapers and community,” the guild’s mission statement said.
If Gannett voluntarily recognizes the Post’s and Daily News’ union, the guild will be officially formed under federal law. If the company declines, employees will vote on forming one in a federally sanctioned election, likely in a month.
The Palm Beach News Guild would represent all non-managerial newsroom employees at the two papers, including reporters, photographers, copy editors, digital specialists, news assistants and columnists.
The Post and Daily News are the latest of a growing number of newsrooms moving to unionize as technological changes and corporate consolidations shake the newspaper industry.
The guild would be the fifth to form at a daily newspaper in Florida since 2016, following successful unionization efforts at The Ledger in Lakeland, the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and, most recently, the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.