Jack Armstrong, publisher of the Bay Area Newspaper Group, LANG's Northern California cousin, sent out a memo Monday about efforts to unionize the Bay Area papers. He opposes the effort, stating that the organization "can best tackle the challenging issues we face in a union-free environment."
The complete memo follows:
The guild last week filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking an election on the union’s effort to be the exclusive bargaining agent for non-supervisory employees in the newsrooms of
Over the next several days we will deal with the NLRB over issues relating to the definition of the proposed bargaining unit and who is eligible to vote. We anticipate that the election most likely will be held in June.
You can expect to hear a lot from us before the election because this represents a potential turning point in the history of our newsrooms. The outcome will impact all of you, whether you vote or not, whether you favor or oppose the union, whether you feel strongly or not about the issue.
In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind:
The outcome of the election will be determined by how a majority of those who vote cast their ballots – “yes” for union representation, “no” for a union-free environment.
It is important that each of you do your homework so you can make a studied decision. For example, we encourage you to examine closely what has happened in recent negotiations at union-organized newspaper companies in the Bay Area and across the country. It is important to know what the union actually has delivered for its members.
If you signed a union authorization card, that does not mean you are in any way obligated to vote for the union. (Some employees have said they signed a card, changed their minds and asked that the cards be returned; the union refused.)
The election will be by secret ballot. No one will ever find out how you voted.
Kevin Keane and I are opposed to unionization of our newsrooms. For good and ample reasons, we believe unionization would not be in your best interests or the best interests of our organization and our audience. We will explore those reasons in the weeks ahead.
Kevin and I are confident that on the day of the election a majority of you will agree with us, that our organization is poised to do great things and we can best tackle the challenging issues we face in a union-free environment.
John Armstrong, Publisher
*The union organizers have a letter of their own for Armstrong.