Q&A: Veteran political reporter confident ‘Republic’ newsroom will win unionization fight

Newsroom staff members at one of Gannett’s largest newspapers, the Arizona Republic, launched a unionization effort Wednesday in advance of the company’s planned acquisition by GateHouse Media./ Richard Drew

By Dillon Rosenblatt  | Arizona Capitol Times

Amid a hefty battle with management that involved getting her work phone confiscated, Arizona Republic reporter Rebekah Sanders is confident the newsroom will win its unionization effort with “strong support” when they vote October 10.

Sanders, who has been a visible and vocal member of the newspaper staff’s effort to organize, has worked at The Republic for 12 years now and has seen a lot of devastating cuts take place, and very few – if any – raises for staff.

Related: Gannett Co., the owner of USA TODAY, faces three shareholder lawsuits in Delaware court over financial projections the media company made when announcing its impending acquisition by GateHouse Media.

“I don’t think there’s been any across-the-newsroom cost-of-living raise since I’ve been there,” she said. “Some veteran reporters took huge cuts during the recession and then have not had any raise since then, which is like a pay cut every year with the cost of living rising.”

When The Republic newsroom attempted to unionize in the 1970s, the paper’s owner, the Pulliam family, gave most of the staff raises, which ended the effort. This time will be different, Sanders said, though some reporters have received raises already.

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