The Friday Vote Will Force Negotiations After The Paper’s Parent Company Previously Declined To Voluntarily Recognize Its Newsroom Staff’s Union Efforts.

Update at 3:25 p.m. on November 2, 2020: And, just like that, there are now two unionized newsrooms in Texas.

A little more than two weeks after the Dallas Morning News‘ newsroom won a vote in favor of unionizing, those journalists’ counterparts at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found out today that their paper’s McClatchy Co. ownership would voluntarily recognize their union. The announcement comes just three weeks after Star-Telegram staffers made their unionization effort attempts publicly known.

Original story follows.

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On Friday, staff at The Dallas Morning News and its Spanish-language sister paper Al Dia Dallas voted 84 to 28 in favor of unionizing their newsroom.

The vote, held by the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB), solidified the DMN‘s place as the only unionized newsroom in the state of Texas — a development that comes just after staff of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced on Wednesday the establishment of the Fort Worth NewsGuild as part of its own plans to follow suit.

The DMN newsroom union — called Dallas News Guildwas launched over the summer after staff at the legacy paper decided to take action on many grievances. Included among those are a lack of involvement in layoff decisions, poor staff retention and issues with pay equity.

Essentially, the union gives the journalists at the newspaper a seat at the table when it comes to major decisions being made on their behalf.

After staff members first publicly announced their union formation efforts in July, the newspaper’s A.H. Belo Corporation parent company chose not to voluntarily recognize the move, leading to a July petition and, ultimately, Friday’s secret-ballot vote (submitted by mail) results.

Now, with a 75 percent majority of votes submitted in favor of the union, Belo is legally required to meet with members of the guild for negotiations upon NRLB officially certifying the election results next week.

“Make no mistake, it will be us at the negotiation table,” says Leah Waters, a guild organizer and DMN copy editor.

After learning of Friday’s vote, the paper’s publisher Grant Moise said he was disappointed with the results but that he would “proceed forward in good faith negotiations.”

“We felt strongly that the best way to move forward is without a third party being inserted into our newspaper’s culture,” Moise said.

The Dallas News Guild has requested to begin bargaining with Belo on the week of November 15. Before then, the union will begin electing a council of organizers, which will then decide on a 12-person committee that will represent its interest in negotiation conversations.

Says Waters of today’s Dallas News Guild victory: “Someone on sports staff said to me the other day, ‘You just finished Game 1 of the World Series; now you’re onto Game 2.'”

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