Unionizing protected some local journalists from Gannett layoffs

In October 2022, Columbia Journalism Review analyzed how labor unions can protect local newsrooms from cost-cutting owners. At the heart of the piece was Gannett due to recent collective bargaining negotiations with its Kent, Ohio paper’s union, the Record-Courier News Guild. Amidst the talks, Gannett President & CEO Mike Reed announced company-wide cuts of 400 employees and 400 open positions.

Record-Courier News Guild’s workers were protected by their union status, but many other Gannett newsrooms were not, CISLM Research Director Jessica Mahone said in the article.

“There are people who, were it not for their union, would have gotten that announcement Wednesday and they would not have been protected,” Mahone said, which could’ve been “absolute devastation” for some.

Mahone believes this slate of Gannett cuts is evidence of why unions are necessary.

Read the entire article on Columbia Journalism Review and read CISLM’s entire report on the rise of unionization efforts in local news.