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Idaho Statesman employees vote to form union

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Eighteen newsroom employees at the Idaho Statesman voted to form a union, the Idaho News Guild. A release from the group said the vote was unanimous, and includes all the non-management employees at the Boise news outlet.

The group announced the move in March, before the significant onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Idaho. At the time, McClatchy told BoiseDev it would consider the request.

“We appreciate the right of our journalists to be represented by the News Guild-CWA and will consider their request and respond shortly,” the spokesperson wrote.

The guild said McClatchy elected not to voluntarily recognize the union. Due to the pandemic, the vote saw delays. Finally, the National Labor Relations Board held a mail-in vote for the union members.

“We are fighting to preserve local news in Idaho,” Idaho News Guild member Kate Talerico said in a statement. “We look forward to working with management toward a fair contract that ensures a strong future for the Statesman’s essential journalism.”

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Initially, sixteen employees signed the letter requesting formation of the union. Afterward, McClatchy deemed to additional employees eligible, according to tweets from the union.

The Idaho News Guild operates as a unit of the NewsGuild/Communications Workers of America.

Statesman owner McClatchy remains the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding. Poynter reports two large hedge funds submitted bids for the company, which would control of the company from the McClatchy family. Poynter said the pandemic and sharp downturn in print advertising has complicated the bankruptcy proceedings.

McClatchy repeatedly cut the newsgathering capabilities of the capital city’s oldest news organization. 

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