It's possible Tronc will fight our union organizing efforts.
They may hire union busting consultants or ask managers to tell us a union will cause pay cuts, layoffs and require strikes. Tronc could even go as far as to recruit a few employees to campaign against the union. Anti-union committees are often friends or relatives of someone in management or a person who is politically opposed to unions.
The company could try to mislead or divide staffers through manipulation. Tactics in previous union busting campaigns have included spreading false information about unions, offering some employees more compensation or promising to improve working conditions to try to prevent the union from happening. But, management usually returns to old patterns if the employees decide not to unionize.
It is possible managers or consultants will pull individual employees or groups into meetings in attempt to scare you away from unionizing. Be prepared for these tactics. Let's not fall for this.
Here are some of the things that the company may say to discourage us from unionizing:
- Unions love strikes.
It is extremely rare for a newspaper to strike. Almost all contract negotiations end without a strike. We would only strike because an overwhelming majority of our newsroom voted to do so because of extraordinary circumstances. There are other actions we could take to send a message to management that others have successfully used that include withholding your byline from a story, being active on social media and holding a demonstration over lunch.
- The union only wants your dues.
The NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America is here to help us organize, wade through legal issues and assist us in the bargaining process with professional staff. We reached out to them for assistance. It is here to advocate for pay increases and other benefits we couldn't achieve on our own.
- We won’t be able to give you raises if you unionize.
Tronc managers have suggested raises could occur next year, but they have not specified who would get them, how much they would be or even when they would occur. They have promised nothing. A different owner also wouldn't be obligated to fulfill any possible pay increases suggested by Tronc. But they’re still able to give us raises when we form a union. A union will give us a seat at the table to negotiate with our managers. Through the process of collective bargaining, management has to negotiate in good faith with union leaders. A contract would put these kinds of promises in a legally binding contract.
- A union will divide our newsroom family.
Tronc is a large corporation that prioritizes its profit margins, not family. We don’t think a union should prevent us from having a strong working relationships with management. We are not seeking an us-against-them mentality. We hope Tronc will understand and respect why we want to unionize.