Chicago Tribune Guild
 
 

Strong journalists mean strong journalism. 

The Chicago Tribune Guild is an organization of journalists, united in our passion for what we do and our determination to strengthen our newsroom and ensure we have the tools we need to excel at work that is vital to our community and the world. 

Because strong journalism is what Chicago deserves.

 
 
 
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Our mission

To our colleagues

 
 

We did it. In response to the overwhelming strength of our newsrooms, Tronc agreed this weekend to voluntarily recognize the Chicago Tribune Guild, which will represent the Chicago Tribune, The Beacon-News, Daily Southtown, Elgin Courier-News, Hoy, Naperville Sun, RedEye and the Design and Production Studio (DPS). As a formality, we expect official union certification from the National Labor Relations Board in the coming week. 

Most importantly, with this agreement we all gain the legal protections of recognition. 

This is an extraordinary development that has evolved quickly. Our attorneys and partners at The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America tell us that in decades of organizing, they have never seen a newsroom earn voluntary recognition from a company of this size and with such a long history of anti-union bias. Tronc undoubtedly realized it would waste time and money during an election process it would lose.

We achieved this together. More than 85 percent of our newsrooms — reporters, editors, designers, photographers, columnists and other colleagues  — signed cards saying we wanted our interests represented by a union. We agreed that, in the face of pernicious corporate influence on our industry, we need a better way to advocate for our work, protect the future of our and the next generation’s journalism careers and strengthen our coverage of Chicago and its suburban communities. We also know this is only the first step. 

We will have three bargaining units that work together: One will comprise Tribune and RedEye; one will comprise Beacon-News, Southtown, Courier-News, Naperville Sun and Hoy; and one will comprise DPS. We agreed to three units because we believe it puts us in a strong position, immediately, to fight for all of us.

The company has agreed to bargain jointly with the Tribune/RedEye and suburban/Hoy units, meaning representatives from each of those four entities have the right to negotiate at the same time at the same table. DPS will bargain separately, but with full, coordinated support of the other two units. 

Three bargaining units, one union. We will maintain our solidarity at the bargaining table and in our newsrooms. 

We are now in a "status quo" period, which means that Tronc cannot unilaterally alter any work conditions without first negotiating with our bargaining units. With voluntary recognition, all of us — the Guild and Tronc — can remain focused on providing the high-quality journalism for which we are known.  

In the coming weeks, members of the organizing committee will work with our Guild representatives and lawyers to map out bargaining strategies, including surveys asking you to identify contract priorities. The Guild and Tronc have agreed to negotiate in good faith as to which of our newsroom colleagues will have Guild representation. We maintain our position that union protections should extend to the majority of our source editors and editorial board members. Tronc currently disagrees.

We expect to resolve these issues and achieve three fair contracts. Our newsrooms have worked together extensively, sharing bylines, awards, values, a code of ethics and much more. That same unity has now helped us achieve critical goals in this process — legal protections and a seat at the bargaining table — and it will continue to serve us in negotiations.

The Guild will stay in touch as we move forward. In the meantime, we welcome you to bring us your questions and concerns. Join us at The Billy Goat after work Monday, when we’ll lift a glass in appreciation of what we’ve accomplished so quickly and start looking toward the future.

We did it. We have a union.

In solidarity and with resolve,

             Organizing Committee of the Chicago Tribune Guild

Alison Bowen

Manya Brachear Pashman

Tony Briscoe

Teresa Budasi

Sadé Carpenter

Brian Cassella

Jeff Cercone

Louisa Chu

Megan Crepeau

Bill Daley

Cindy Dampier

Dahleen Glanton

Michael Hawthorne

Erin Hegarty

Joseph Hernandez

Rex Huppke

Charlie J. Johnson

William Lee

Hannah Leone

Angie Leventis Lourgos

Adam Lukach

Joe Mahr

Elvia Malagon

Peter Nickeas

Josh Noel

Clarence Page

Alex Parker

Antonio Perez

Michael Phillips

Gregory Pratt

Alicia Ramirez

Dawn Rhodes

Laura Rodríguez

Mary Schmich

Char Searl

Jacqueline Serrato

Ted Slowik

Jennifer Smith Richards

Stacy St. Clair

Paul Sullivan

Heidi Stevens 

Greg Trotter

Abel Uribe

Matthew Walberg

E. Jason Wambsgans

Lara Weber

Wendy Fox Weber

Stacey Wescott

Mary Wisniewski

Eric Zorn

 
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Giving the newsroom a voice

We are proud shareholders in a storied journalistic tradition in one of the world’s great cities. Together, we’ve worked to build an organization we hope will represent the concerns of all our colleagues and the common cause we share — Chicago Tribune journalism. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Why start a union?

 
 
 
 
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A powerful voice for journalists

Journalism speaks truth to power.  Now, more than ever, we need a strong, coherent voice to advocate for ourselves and for the integrity of the work we do.  Great journalism serves our readers and our community, and positions us to compete at the highest level, strengthening our company and our brand. 

 
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Pay and benefits that make sense

Current Tribune compensation plans are antiquated and arbitrary, with increases that have been far outstripped by cost of living.  Every year our benefits have been reduced, while out-of-pocket costs increase.  We will negotiate to protect benefits like health care and adopt a fair pay scale that brings us up to the level of other union newsrooms around the country. 

 

 
 
 
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Meaningful diversity and development

A diverse newsroom means not just lip-service, but true inclusion at all levels, from top to bottom.  We're committed to helping make that a reality, and to working with management to stop the constant exodus of our best and brightest colleagues. We need a path so that talented journalists can move up — not out.  

 

 
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Transparent business dealings

Five million dollar bonuses for failed executives are just the tip of a pretty nasty iceberg. Our company has long suffered under unscrupulous ownership intent on lining their pockets while disregarding and underfunding the newsrooms that are the creative engines of the company.  Our union will help hold them to account for behavior that destabilizes our company and threatens our livelihoods.