Union workers at four newspapers in suburban Philadelphia are joining reporters, editors and production workers at the San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and five other dailies owned by the Digital First Media News chain, in a joint organizing campaign to improve wages and working conditions, according to a union statement.
Bargaining units employing 1,000 journalists and support staff "will be negotiating for new contract at the same time," backed by "sizable" financial support from the Communications Workers of America, locals of the CWA-Newspaper Guild affiliate said in the statement. They said some of the papers have not raised pay for "more than eight years," and complained that Alden Global Capital, the New York private equity firm that is Digital First's managing owner, "has no apparent business strategy" after laying off managers at the company's Yardley, Pa. offices last year. Calls and emails to Digital First weren't immediately returned.
The labor group includes 130 workers at the Delaware County Daily Times, Pottstown Mercury, Trentonian and Times-Herald of Norristown, who earn a median $800/week, according to Bill Ross, representative for CWA-Newspaper Guild Local 10, which also represents editorial, advertising and circulation staff at the Inquirer. Ross said the union is also working to organize the non-union Daily Local News, and the Reporter, also in suburban Philadelphia.