Chicago Tribune Management Will Not Recognize Workers' Union

Chicago Tribune management on Wednesday decided not to recognize an employee union after workers at the newspaper overwhelmingly supported organizing.

In a letter to members of the Chicago Tribune Guild organizing committee, Tribune Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Bruce Dold writes that management does "not have enough information to make such a decision and therefore we decline to recognize at this time."

"We believe the best course for navigating this process is through the procedures and resources of the National Labor Relations Board," the letter reads. "We are committed to working with you through the NLRB to reach a quick resolution." 

Tribune homepage editor Charlie Johnson wrote on Twitter that management "requested no additional information today or yesterday."

Tronc did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Johnson added that the employees plan to file signature cards with the National Labor Relations Board and "begin the process of holding a union election." 

"Should @tronc choose to recognize our unit going forward, we will gladly withdraw our petition for an election," he wrote. 

More than 85 percent of the staff signed union authorization cards. They were hoping the Tribune would recognize that support, but if not, said they were prepared to turn to the National Labor Relations Board for the next steps.

An email was sent to the Tribune editor in chief and publisher Bruce Dold -- letting him know 85 percent support the Chicago Tribune guild and the union wanted an answer if the Tribune will recognize the union by 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"It's a diverse group of people that represents pretty much every facet and editorial department of the newsroom," Charlie Johnson, a Tribune employee said.

"It's time that we started standing up for fair wages and regular raises, and for fair health benefits," Mary Wisniewski, a reporter, said. "We love this work but we want to be compensated fairly for it."

The tribune is owned by tronc -- last month its chairman Michael Ferro resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behavior and he's sold his stake in tronc. Management distrust is one of the key factors in the union vote.

"There was the bankruptcy, we were spun off from our television assets," Johnson said. "Our building was essentially sold out from under us, we ere saddled with a lot of debt."

Dold said the union request is being reviewed and he spoke of "working together as an organization toward our common goal as a leading source for news."

Nearly 300 employees would be part of the Tribune union -- and while the paper has traditionally been anti-union, the staff sees an urgency for their fight.

"People need to realize that what we do is important," Wisniewski said. "We're not people making things up in our basement. We're doing good, important professional work and we need real news and real investigations to support our Democracy."

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