I am back from South Bend, Indiana, where I had the extreme honor of celebrating a successful union election with some of the South Bend Tribune* reporters, photographers and others who organized their colleagues to become one of the latest newsrooms to join NewsGuild-CWA. The vote was overwhelming; out of a newsroom unit of 27, 23 journalists voted to join us. One person couldn't make it to vote, and only 3 people voted against Guild representation, for an 88 percent level of Guild support.
I helped peripherally - very peripherally - in this campaign. Two other organizers did a lot more to help guide the newsroom leaders. But the plaudits, the kudos, should all go the members themselves. They did the hard work of educating themselves and their colleagues about the union, about the reasons why The NewsGuild was right for them. They still have miles to go to get a first contract, but the energy and determination they showed in this effort will serve them well in the coming fight.
I'm really tired, so I'm not going to go on at length about why the union movement, which is always important, is even more so for modern journalists. I'm sure you've heard me do so before and I know I'll probably do so again, possibly articulately. There's certainly enough to say (and here's a dispiriting look at American journalism's horrid reality, at least for folks in my immediate vicinity.)
But in a week where evil shits were winning the day everywhere I looked, this victory gave me a little bit of much-needed hope.
*This Tribune is not connected to the Tribunes that I've worked with elsewhere. Just wanted to make that clear.
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