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Idaho Statesman Newsroom Unionizes, As Parent Company Navigates Bankruptcy

Idaho Statesman

Journalists at the Idaho Statesman have unionized, after announcing their intentions in March. The vote was unanimous for non-manager newsroom staffers who had to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.


“All 18 eligible members voted to unionize, so that was an exciting day for us,” said Ruth Brown, a reporter at the state’s largest daily newspaper.

The paper’s owner, McClatchy, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. It’s saddled with more than $4 billion worth of debt and could be sold in the restructuring.


Brown acknowledged negotiating better wages and benefits may be difficult against this background and a global pandemic.


“We’re at a time where local journalism really matters, accurate information and providing that to the public in a timely manner and we just want to continue doing our jobs.”


McClatchy wrote in a statement that it recognizes “it’s not an easy time to be a journalist and we value the tremendous work produced by these hard-working reporters, especially in these unprecedented times.” It said it will form a bargaining team to work with the union.


Brown said contract negotiations could start in a month.

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