Newsroom employees at the seven BANG-Easy Bay newspapers voted 104 to 92 to form a union. A simple majority was all that was needed.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
About 53 percent of participating staff cast ballots allowing the Northern California Media Workers Guild to represent more than 200 newsroom workers in collective bargaining for pay, benefits and work conditions. Barring any successful challenges, contract negotiations could begin within a month.
Many saw the vote as a referendum on Dean Singleton's MediaNews:
The origins of the union campaign trace back to 2006, when a partnership led by Denver's MediaNews Group Inc., the owner of the Oakland Tribune and other East Bay papers, purchased the Contra Costa Times and its affiliated publications. The organizing effort began in earnest last fall, after MediaNews stopped recognizing the Oakland group's guild representation; a newsroom consolidation had left more nonunion than union employees.
Since the acquisition, employees have complained of slipping journalistic quality within the chain, which became a key issue in the campaign, by some accounts eclipsing compensation concerns. Many departing employees have not been replaced. In March, the company said it would buy out 107 employees, or about 10 percent of its staff, citing slumping advertising revenue.
"We've been alarmed since the merger at some of the changes we've seen," [organizing committee co-chair Karl] Fischer said. "Morale was poor and a lot of people were leaving."