Kansas City Star journalists announce union organizing campaign

Journalists of the award-winning newspaper, The Kansas City Star, took a major step Monday toward forming the Kansas City News Guild, a union that will give accountability, mission-driven journalists a voice in their own workplace.

The Kansas City News Guild will represent 40 journalists, who strive to keep their community informed and hold government, business and other institutions accountable. The union will make the paper better for readers by fighting for a safe, diverse and vibrant newsroom that will be here for years to come.

Members of the union organizing committee presented local management with the request for voluntary recognition after an overwhelming majority of eligible staffers signed cards signaling their desire to be represented by the Kansas City News Guild. The committee has not filed those cards yet as it is hoping to be voluntarily recognized first.

“We think it’s important for those who produce The Star’s content to have a collective voice in helping set the agenda for the area’s largest news source,” said reporter Mike Hendricks, one of the longest-serving members of the staff. “We’re part of this community and want to see The Star and Kansas City continue to thrive.”

In its mission statement, the organizing committee says, “Our newsroom should be a place where all are valued and have a voice in the future of the company, despite the uncertainty of the industry.”

Our union wants fair wages and benefits, a newsroom that fosters and encourages professional growth, and one whose make up is diverse and reflects the makeup of the community we serve. Most of all, we want a voice in the future direction of the company.

The Star’s previous owner filed for bankruptcy last year and the publicly held company was sold to its largest creditor, Chatham Asset Management.

Chatham told the bankruptcy judge the new, privately owned McClatchy would not make job cuts its first year. But that has already taken place in parts of the company. Some of those changes might not have happened had our union had a seat at the table.

“We’re uniting to protect the future of The Star, whose journalists work tirelessly to keep our city and region informed,” said reporter Luke Nozicka, who has been on staff for two years.

The group will become a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA, the nation’s largest union for journalists and other news industry employees.

Meet people behind the Kansas City NewsGuild:
Interviews with key leaders from The Kansas City Star newsroom staff can be arranged by contacting Mike Hendricks at 913-620-2897 or Glenn Rice at 816-560-2543 or [email protected]. They also can arrange interviews with Jeff Gordon, regional vice president of The NewsGuild.

Connect With Us
The NewsGuild organizing campaign at The Kansas City Star on Twitter at @KCNewsGuild.

About The NewsGuild-CWA:
The NewsGuild-CWA represents more than 24,000 journalists and other communications professionals in the United States and Canada at publications and digital sites that include The Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and The Indianapolis Star. Formerly known as The Newspaper Guild, the union was founded by journalists in 1933. The Guild merged with the 600,000-member Communications Workers of America in 1995.

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