Organizing Update

The Arizona Republic


The Arizona Republic Guild's logo was designed by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Benson, who was laid off from the paper in January.

Employees at The Arizona Republic announced Wednesday that they are taking steps to form a union with NewsGuild-CWA to have a seat at the table as a major corporate merger looms, and are requesting voluntary recognition.
 
On the eve of the employees' announcement, management unleashed a campaign of intimidation and harassment, calling known union supporters into the Human Resources office individually and questioning them about their activities. The HR director seized the work phone of reporter Rebekah Sanders, effectively preventing her from performing her job. The interrogations followed the release of a newsroom-wide email from the executive editor on Friday comparing union supporters to mob bosses and child molesters.

"As a consumer protection reporter, I fight on behalf of readers when businesses treat them badly. Now, I am fighting on behalf of my coworkers," Sanders said. "I believe the future of local journalism depends on all of us standing up to protect our newspapers."

The announcement comes amid talks that Gannett, the Republic's corporate owner, will merge with GateHouse Media in a $1.4 billion deal, creating one of the largest news conglomerates in the U.S. The companies say they plan to make $300 million in cuts, including more than $100 million to newspaper operations. Gannett has already slashed the Republic by about 70% from roughly 425 journalists in 2008 to about 130 today.

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Memnon Archiving Services

Thirty-five employees at Memnon Archiving Services, a digitizer of analog media in Bloomington, Ind., have won representation through an NLRB election held last Wednesday to join CWA Local 4818.