We told you HERE in February about the struggle that a number of Orlando Sentinel employees had launched to start their own union. Well, the struggle is over and they have won their right to a union.
Orlando Sentinel employees voted 36-8 in favor of creating a union, in an attempt to “gain a seat at the table” with Tribune Publishing, the current owner of the paper and now The Sentinel Guild (Website) is an approved unit of Local 3108, a local chapter The NewsGuild-CWA, the largest union for journalists in the country.
According to a Guild press release, nearly 80 percent of eligible staffers signed authorization cards signaling their desire to be represented by the new union and publicly declared their support Feb. 25. Despite this supermajority, Tribune Publishing refused to voluntarily recognize the Sentinel Guild, and the election was delayed for weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made to unionize when news was made public that Alden Global Capital had become the largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing. Alden Global Capital has been referred to as the “destroyer of newspapers” and Orlando Sentinel has already dwindled from 300 journalists to just 90 in the past 15 years.
During the pandemic and subsequent delay in the vote, Tribune instituted mandatory pay cuts for its staff that were earning around $67,000 a year and three-week furloughs for employees under that benchmark.