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Tribune rejects unionization effort, sends matter to NLRB

Tribune Tower. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Management at the Chicago Tribune said they will not voluntarily recognize a coalition of newsroom employees as a union, opting to send the matter to the National Labor Relations Board.

The guild had given the newspaper’s leadership until 11 a.m. Wednesday to voluntarily recognize the group as a union before contacting the NLRB.

In a letter to the Chicago Tribune Guild’s organizing committee obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Tribune’s publisher and editor-in-chief Bruce Dold said: “We do not have enough information to make such a decision and therefore we decline to recognize at this time. We believe the best course for navigating this process is through the procedures and resources of the National Labor Relations Board.”

David Roeder, a former Sun-Times business columnist who now consults for the Chicago News Guild and Chicago Tribune Guild, said that Dold’s letter was “not too surprising.”

“Most private employers prefer to go through the election process and it sounded from his letter that they wanted more time to look at the situation,” Roeder said.

The Tribune Guild announced Wednesday that more than 85 percent of newsroom employees from the Tribune and most of its suburban newspapers had signed cards in favor of organizing.

Those cards, Roeder said, would be filed with the NLRB Wednesday and a hearing would be held in the next eight days to iron out who would be included in the proposed bargaining unit. An election for union leadership would, it is hoped, take place in the next few weeks, he added.

Proposed membership includes newsroom employees from the Tribune, Aurora Beacon-News, Daily Southtown, Naperville Sun, Elgin Courier-News, RedEye and Hoy. They announced their intentions to organize two weeks ago.

Not included in the Chicago Tribune Guild are employees from the Tronc-owned Lake County News-Sun, Post-Tribune and Pioneer Press newspapers. Those employees are already members of the Chicago News Guild, which also represents employees from the Sun-Times newsroom.