SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah Morning News(SMN) has plans to unionize, the newspaper announced Monday.
Staff at the Savannah Morning News, along with the Athens Banner-Herald, announced they are attempting to unionize under the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America on the same day that the national NewsGuild called for a “no confidence” vote against Gannett CEO Mike Reed.
This comes as journalists and news staff across the country are walking out and pushing back against Gannett, SMN’s parent company and the largest newspaper company in the nation, amid outcry regarding increasing layoffs, low pay, and the mass exodus of thousands of news staff. Employees allege Gannett has laid off several Georgia workers, cut benefits, and mandated unpaid furloughs over the last year.
Both Savannah and Athens staff are combining to create the Georgia Gannett NewsGuild which intends to formalize soon through voluntary recognition or a vote. If successful, the union plans to negotiate with Gannett Corporate for fairer contracts.
The Georgia Gannett NewsGuild addressed their unionization efforts in their mission statement saying, in part:
Across the state, journalists and photojournalists have covered hoax school shooting threats, the College Football National Championship and federal raids on lowcountry churches, often working together across newsrooms. We have been tear gassed at rallies, worked through a global pandemic, and done award-winning projects with out-dated gear. We do the job anyway because we are passionate about our communities — we want to hold the powerful accountable, inform participants in our democracy, and lift the voices of the diverse and underrepresented.
This mission, however, has been made difficult to impossible. Unionizing, acting together as a collective to move our vision forward, is the only way for us to address the issues wrought by corporate mismanagement.
The Savannah Morning News was acquired by Gannett in 2019.