Center for Investigative Reporting rejects Guild in close vote

By a narrow margin, journalists at the Center for Investigative Reporting voted against Guild representation during an NLRB election Tuesday.

The vote was 10 to 11.

One year ago, journalists at The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news startup based in San Francisco, voted to form a union through Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521. A few months into negotiations for their first contract, The Bay Citizen was rocked by the departure of several key leaders, including its CEO, editor-in-chief, and managing editor. December saw the death of Warren Hellman, a local philanthropist whose leadership and donations played a key role founding The Bay Citizen.

In February, The Bay Citizen board announced plans to merge into CIR, a larger organization which also includes “California Watch.” Guild representation allowed Bay Citizen journalists to bargain a transition agreement, and also to secure an agreement that produced Tuesday’s election.

“We remain very supportive of CIR and their staff, who produce first-rate work of great importance,” said Sara Steffens, a Newspaper Guild staff representative.  “We are certain that nonprofit models will play a key role in sustaining quality journalism in the future, and we hope that journalists at these organizations will someday enjoy the same workplace protections as their colleagues in commercial newsrooms.”

The Bay Citizen and CIR continue to maintain separate newsrooms, in San Francisco and Berkeley, but are looking to move into a new, shared location.

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees workplace union elections, bars repeat elections in the same bargaining unit for a period of one year.

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Guild Staff