Daily Press, Virginian-Pilot journalists announce plans to unionize

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Journalists from The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press on Tuesday announced plans to form a union called the Tidewater Media Guild.

A news release from the journalists said more than three quarters of eligible staffers across both newsrooms had signed cards authorizing union representation with The NewsGuild by Tuesday morning.

More staff members are expected to sign throughout the day, the release said.

The news comes a few months after Chicago-based media company tronc — which is also the parent company of the Daily Press — bought the Pilot for $34 million.

The journalists said in the released they hoped to “ensure wage equity, fair hiring practices and diversity in the workforce” by unionizing.

“We’re taking this step to give our newsroom a seat at the table with whoever our owners may be,” Brock Vergakis, a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot and a member of the Tidewater Media Guild, said in a statement Tuesday, “Without a contract, we’re guaranteed nothing. In these uncertain times, a union is the best way to ensure fair compensation and a work environment that will help stem an exodus of talented journalists who move elsewhere in search of better pay and job security. When talented journalists leave, the communities they serve also suffer.”

According to the release, the announced unionization plans come the same day that a reorganization of the papers was implemented, effectively combining operations. The newly established Tidewater Media Guild launched a website, along with Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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