We, the journalists of The Virginian-Pilot and the Daily Press, are uniting to form a union.
Some of us have ties to the Tidewater region that go back decades while others have recently adopted it as home. But all of us care about the communities we cover and our vital mission as journalists to tell its stories, hold the powerful accountable and expose corruption.
And while we all strive for the highest standards, the lack of stability we face is making our vital work even more difficult. This is why we are forming a union.
We are tired of watching talented young staffers and deeply-rooted veterans leave our ranks rather than suffer through years of ever-eroding benefits, stagnant pay and constant cutbacks; we are tired of the unilateral decisions made by distant corporate owners who do not have an understanding of, nor a stake, in our communities; we are tired of doing more with less.
All of us have watched our colleagues in New York, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago lose their jobs without warning. No one – neither Pulitzer Prize winner nor the newest hire – is safe in Tronc’s quest for ever higher profit margins, even as executive compensation continues to grow.
But we are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet; we are a vital part of our communities and we demand to be treated as such.
The employees who live and work here should have a say in the critical decisions that shape the work we do in our communities. Our commitment to journalism and our newsrooms will not change, regardless of who owns the company or where they are headquartered.
Our union will work to improve the conditions of our newsrooms and will urge our owners to invest in us and the work we do. These local institutions and their corporate owner are profitable, and we believe we should share in that success.
As the Tidewater Media Guild, we can start addressing these issues, including creating newsrooms that better reflect the diversity of the communities we cover.
We ask for your support as we sign authorization cards to be represented by the same guild as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and many others.
We stand together, united to create a better future. We hope you’ll join us.
Erica J. Smith