Record-Courier journalists vote 5-0 in favor of union

Journalists from the Record-Courier celebrate the certification of their new union. Photo via the Record Courier New Guild

The five remaining editorial staffers of the Record-Courier voted unanimously to form a union and negotiate working conditions alongside their colleagues at the Akron Beacon Journal, both owned by Gannett.

The vote count, certified April 6 by the National Labor Relations Board, caps a 10-month journey for the journalists, whose decision to organize was quickly challenged by their employer. Gannett refused to voluntarily recognize the union and argued the newsroom should not be allowed to bargain with the Beacon Journal staff, even though they share an editor. 

The NLRB ruled in favor of the journalists, who were supported by NewsGuild organizers, clearing the way for a March 15 vote.

“While one battle is won, the larger battle now begins in protecting Portage County journalism,” said Jonah Rosenblum, a Record-Courier sports reporter. 

Two reporters have resigned in recent months to seek higher-paying jobs, leaving just two news reporters to cover a county of 162,000 people. As the group looks to begin bargaining next week, they say staffing levels will be a key sticking point.

“We look forward to advocating for sustainable staffing levels so we can provide strong local news coverage to Portage County,” said Diane Smith, senior news reporter. “We also hope to quickly address pay inequities, which have cost us two staff members since December.”

Read a press release from the union.

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Ben Wolford is the editor and publisher of The Portager.

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