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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's Official: The Bay Citizen Unionizes

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

click to enlarge Hellman's Frankenstein Monster
  • Hellman's Frankenstein Monster

Just a year after Warren Hellman launched the Bay Citizen, the editorial newsroom decided to officially unionize.

On May 26, Bay Citizen staffers signed union cards indicating they want to join the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. Union officials completed the count on July 12, verifying that the newsroom would now be represented by the Guild.

"We believe the Bay Citizen, as one of the pioneering exponents of new civic journalism, should also be a leading example in the area of workplace democracy," editorial staff wrote in a

letter to Lisa Frazier, the newspaper's president and CEO, before filing cards with the National Labor Relations Board.

A total of 14 votes were cast, with seven in favor and five opposing the union. Two votes are being challenged. They have not been opened, but the Guild says it's confident that the concluding tally will remain in favor of forming a unit.

SF Weekly contacted Frazier. No word back yet.

Bernie Lunzer, international president of the Newspaper Guild in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that the result "marks an historic advance for media workers, as traditional newsrooms shrink and the industry struggles to find new models to stay competitive in the online era."

"The future of quality journalism depends on reporters and editors shaping the vision of innovative new media organizations. By voting to be represented by the Guild, employees at the Bay Citizen have given themselves this voice," Lunzer said.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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