The Chicago Tribune won approval to unionize Sunday from its ownership at Tronc Media along with several other Chicago-based companies, NPR reported.
The corporate surrender comes four months after a battle to unionize the Los Angeles Times, also owned by Tronc, ended in defeat for anti-union management despite a campaign to resist unionizing the newsroom.
“As we move ahead, we need to be united as one organization with an important purpose – to help the company transform and thrive as a business, and to serve our readers world-class journalism,” Chicago Tribune Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Bruce Dold told employees in an email late Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Tronc Media has historically been averse to unions, making the newsrooms victories to score organized representation more surprising, according to NPR. Upper management generally resist unionization because of the significant increase in labor costs and restriction in ability fire unproductive workers.
“Its long past time that the journalists at the Tribune and its community publications have a say in how our newspaper operates,” Chicago Tribune Homepage Editor Charles J. Johnson, who also played a leading role in the push to unionize, told NPR. “We have been badly mistreated by a series of corporate owners, Tronc only being the most recent, and weve decided to take some control over the future of our journalism in the city of Chicago.”
Tronc Media has struggled in recent years. Its stock price plummeted 28 percent in 2016 following a report that banks had pulled financial backing out of the companys bid to take over Gannett Media. The deal eventually fell through.
The votes to unionize both the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times were overwhelmingly pro-union. The newsrooms voted 85 percent and 80 percent to unionize, respectively. Tronc is now negotiating a deal to sell the LA Times to Patrick Soon-Shiong, one of Troncs largest investors.
Two other struggling media companies, New York City-based digital publications DNAinfo and Gothamist, successfully unionized a week before billionaire Joe Ricketts, who owned the outlets, shut them down on Nov. 2 partly due to the increased cost of working with unions.
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