Welcome the Cityside Guild to PMWG

This week workers at Cityside — a nonprofit journalism outlet devoted to covering the Bay Area through two local news sites, Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside — announced their intention to organize as part of the Pacific Media Workers Guild.

With unanimous support of their membership, the Cityside Guild is seeking voluntary recognition from their management.

We at PMWG (TNG-CWA Local 39521) are excited to welcome them into our Guild family and to assist them as they build power in their own workplace. We expect management to respect their rights to organize, provide voluntary recognition and begin the process of negotiating a first contract so these Guild members can continue to do the inspiring work they do for this community.

Please follow the Cityside Guild on Twitter @CitysideGuild and share your support for their unionization effort.

Read their mission statement below:

Cityside Journalism Initiative is a team of passionate journalists in the East Bay committed to deep local reporting that helps our communities stay engaged and informed. As our non-profit organization grows from a small upstart, we are unionizing to preserve and improve our work environment and ensure the integrity of our reporting in the long term.

When Berkeleyside was founded in 2009, it was a scrappy startup with a handful of journalists. Now, as Cityside, our growing team produces crucial, award-winning journalism in the East Bay. As Cityside considers expansion, we want to ensure we continue to serve as an example of an organization that not only does good work, but is a good place to work. As its employees, we want to help shape the future of our workplace with a unified voice.

At both Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside, journalists are given time to report on meaningful stories and focus on root causes of systemic issues, instead of only symptoms. Our non-profit structure helps us focus on this work without being under the constant stress of profit margins, but we need a seat at the table to represent the diverse needs of all our staff.

We also need more formalized systems and resources to support the people who work here. Our current internal processes can be disorganized and sometimes result in confusion around policies like health insurance, leave and vacation time. Unionizing will ensure Cityside is well-organized internally, and that current and future employees have the resources to deliver the in-depth, on-the-ground reporting that readers rely on.

Cityside journalists are proud that our work is free to access, and that we frequently collaborate with other community organizations and journalism enterprises. We’re grateful to work for an organization that has never made its reporters battle for clicks or pageviews. This supportive environment enables our diverse workforce to produce and support the weighty and relevant journalism Cityside is known for, and through our work in the community we draw an ever-expanding readership to the organization. But we are currently at-will employees, and we are asking for a just cause termination policy so we can have security in our positions while we continue this impactful work.

We have organized with colleagues across Cityside’s editorial and business teams, with both fellows and permanent staff who work together to build powerful journalism, and we will continue to support all other future departments if they choose to unionize.

In our daily work, we strive to shine a light on issues that would otherwise get ignored, get readers engaged in civic processes and create a hub for important neighborhood conversations. Unionizing will help our staff meet the values of our community, and make sure Cityside continues to foster empathetic, dedicated journalists going forward. As a union, we’re part of a movement of working people across the country and we’re carrying on a legacy of collective, grassroots action in the cities we cover.

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Hunter Paniagua

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