The bulk of the Springfield News-Leader’s editorial staff voted unanimously on Friday to unionize.
The 13-0 vote establishes the Springfield News Guild, following the announcement of the plans early last month, according to a news release.
Springfield News Guild’s ranks do not include the News-Leader’s local leadership team of Editor Amos Bridges, Content Coach Stephen Herzog and Digital Planning Editor Matt Peterson. Additionally, Judson Green, who works in production, according to the News-Leader’s website, is not part of the union.
Springfield News Guild’s members, in alphabetical order, are:
• Gregory Holman, investigative reporter;
• Austin Huguelet, Missouri politics reporter;
• Andrew Jansen, photographer;
• Laura Johnson, copy editor;
• Wes Johnson, outdoors reporter;
• Sara Karnes, breaking news reporter;
• Harrison Keegan, public safety reporter;
• Katie Kull, local government reporter;
• Nathan Papes, photographer;
• Steve Pokin, community columnist;
• Jackie Rehwald, social causes reporter;
• Claudette Riley, education reporter; and
• Wyatt Wheeler, sports reporter.
“This was a big step for us – and a much-needed step,” Pokin said in the release. “Now, we look forward to finally having a voice at the table on how we are treated by our corporate owners and advocating for the resources the News-Leader needs to fulfill its mission of covering local news.”
Since announcing the plans to unionize on Jan. 6, Springfield News Guild officials say local and corporate supervisors have been “open and respectful.” The union plans to begin negotiating a contract in the coming weeks, according to the release.
The unionization efforts began following the recently finalized $1.1 billion takeover of Gannett Co. Inc. by GateHouse Media Inc. Gannett, which is the surviving company name through the merger deal, owns the News-Leader, USA Today and around 260 other daily papers. Corporate officials have identified some $300 million in annual cost reductions, The Associated Press previously reported.
The Springfield News Guild is working with St. Louis-based United Media Guild, which is part of the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild, Springfield Business Journal previously reported. NewsGuild also is a sector of Communications Workers of America.
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