The Pacific Media Workers Guild is thrilled to welcome the newsroom workers of Embarcadero Media to TNG-CWA Local 39521. The Embarcadero Community News Guild publicly announced their organizing campaign Tuesday and are seeking voluntary recognition from their employer. We share the following on behalf of the proud journalists of ECNG.
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PALO ALTO, CA – The newsroom staff of Embarcadero Media, the independently owned award-winning community journalism company covering parts of the San Francisco Peninsula and East Bay, today announced that they are forming a union to confront concerns about newsroom turnover, budget cuts and resource limitations.
The vast majority, nearly 90% of non-management newsroom staff, have signed cards authorizing union representation by The Pacific Media Workers Guild, NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521. They are asking Embarcadero Media leadership to voluntarily recognize the Embarcadero Community News Guild as a unit of the Communication Workers of America.
Founded in 1979, the company now operates three community newspapers and nine news and entertainment publications: the Palo Alto Weekly, the Pleasanton Weekly, The Almanac, the Mountain View Voice, DanvilleSanRamon.com, the Redwood City Pulse, The Six Fifty, the Peninsula Foodist and the Livermore Vine.
Since the pandemic began, Embarcadero Media’s newsroom has been hit hard by layoffs and reductions in hours, leaving remaining employees to take on more work with fewer resources and making it harder for our newsroom to pursue its goals of holding those in power accountable and informing our readers.
Non-management newsroom staff, which includes reporters, editors, designers and visual journalists, said they’re forming a union across their Palo Alto and Pleasanton divisions to cultivate a more diverse, equitable newsroom that supports its employees with living wages and allows them to have a say in their job descriptions and the future direction of the company. The Embarcadero Community News Guild also wants to ensure that freelancers and interns who contribute to our newsroom are compensated fairly for their work.
“We all deserve to be paid a livable wage,” said Angela Swartz, staff writer for The Almanac. “I would like to see our company become more inclusive, as a lot of the time the people who can afford to stay with the company have support through spouses or family, while other employees without that outside support leave because they can’t afford to live here. I love working here and it’s sad to see so many talented people leave because they have to work two jobs to afford to live here or are just overworked.”
Management’s voluntary recognition of the Embarcadero Community News Guild would demonstrate an equal commitment to these shared values at a time when newsrooms throughout the country are establishing their own unions. News organizations that have recently voluntarily recognized staff guilds include CalMatters, Cityside, ProPublica, Reveal CIR, and Politico/E&E News.
“There’s more work than ever and fewer people than ever doing that work,” said Palo Alto Weekly staff writer Gennady Sheyner. “I hope (management) will embrace the union and work with us as partners to create a stronger future for local journalism.”
“The pay and the small staff can sometimes cause extra stress and burnout,” said Pleasanton Weekly staff writer Christian Trujano. “I wanted to support my fellow colleagues as we fight for better pay and representation.”
“I grew up reading the Palo Alto Weekly and the Mountain View Voice and this decline is depressing,” said Embarcadero Media graphic designer Douglas Young. “Hopefully the company takes our concerns seriously and takes steps to better our situation.”
“At Embarcadero Media, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most diligent, creative and thoughtful people around,” said Julia Brown, editor of The Six Fifty publication. “I want to help preserve Embarcadero Media’s future and leave the company in a better place than we found it for our readers and employees.”