By a vote of 26 to 4, newsroom employees at the Springfield, IL State Journal-Register sent a strong message to their management while forging a new direction for their newspaper. Six weeks previously, the United Media Guild submitted signed authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board which triggered a representation election at the GateHouse-owned property. In the time leading up to the election, SJ-R employees stood firm as the paper mailed letters to their homes which were designed to dissuade them from voting for a union and then called them, in small groups, into the publisher’s office for captive audience meetings where unions, again, were the subject of the day. However, management’s tactics fell far short of their target, as evidenced by today’s election result .
“I’m terribly proud of my coworkers,” said Dean Olsen, the longtime healthcare reporter, who helped lead the organizing effort. “We wanted a formal voice in determining the future of journalism in Springfield and our group overwhelmingly supported that effort. This is a great day.”
Afterwards, as the workers gathered at a nearby watering hole for celebratory beverages, many were laughing and talking excitedly about what comes next. Olsen, watching it, stood off to the side with a grin, “I haven’t seen these guys smile like this in a long time,” he said.