The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


April 1, 2020billrossInquirer

To all NewsGuild members:

We are in a crisis.

NewsGuild members across the U.S. and Canada have been working tirelessly to provide accurate information to our communities about the coronavirus pandemic. This kind of important journalism is needed more than ever right now.

But the news industry’s very ability to provide that information, at a time when it is needed most, is at risk. Business closures across the continent have decimated advertising markets, even as readership online skyrockets.

The industry was already suffering and entered this crisis without enough workers to cover this story: the largest one in our lifetime.

Now, we’re facing a possible extinction. We’ve seen newspapers cut print days because of the pandemic, and thousands of our members are facing pay cuts and furloughs.

Our union was born out of the Great Depression. Journalists banded together to secure fair wages and rights at newspapers across the country during a time of national crisis.

It was a bold act that many thought wasn’t possible. Many publishers opposed the move, claiming that allowing journalists to form unions would restrict their First Amendment rights.

In this crisis, it is time again to take bold action. Starting at noon Eastern Time Wednesday, we are going public with an unprecedented effort in a bid to save our industry.

Earlier this week, the NewsGuild’s Executive Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for public stimulus for the industry.

The goal is twofold:

– Save and protect the jobs in the news industry now without supporting hedge funds and private equity groups who pillaged our workforce;

– Seed a future that promotes a sustainable and news industry supported by the public.

This would come from a very likely additional stimulus package in the coming weeks. As Guild leaders, we know this is a strange place for our union. But our critical reporting in the face of declining ad revenue, furloughs, and layoffs shows how essential we are to public safety.

We must move forward with a joint effort to save our industry — not for our sake — but for the thousands of communities that look to us for life-saving information during this pandemic.

In order for this effort to be successful, we all need to get into this fight. We need to remind our communities and legislators how important we are. While this is an unprecedented fight, it’s a fight we must wage.

And, as we say, when we fight, we win.

Thank you,

Jon Schleuss
NewsGuild-CWA President