Tronc announced has agreed to recognize the Chicago Tribune Guild, the first newsroom union in the newspaper’s 171-year history.
The company said Sunday that there will be three bargaining units: one for employees of the Chicago Tribune and of RedEye, a publication geared toward younger adults; one for its suburban and Hoy publications; and one for its design and production studio.
Official certification is expected to come from the National Labor Relations Board in the coming week. About 85% of newsroom employees signed cards supporting union representation, with the organizing committee submitting a letter April 24 to Chicago Tribune executives asking for recognition.
“This is an extraordinary development that has evolved quickly,” said an email sent to employees by the organizing committee.
The company did not initially agree to the request, but on Sunday, Bruce Dold, the Tribune’s publisher and editor-in-chief, announced in an email to newsroom employees that the union would be recognized.
“As we move ahead, we need to be united as one organization with an important purpose — to help the company transform and thrive as a business, and to serve our readers world-class journalism,” Dold said.
Formerly known as Tribune Publishing, Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times and other publications.
In January, the Los Angeles Times newsroom voted overwhelmingly to join the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America. Tronc subsequently agreed to sell the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other California-based assets to Los Angeles biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. That deal has yet to close.
The union at the Chicago Tribune will not represent supervisors, managers or non-newsroom employees. There is some disagreement over whether certain editors and editorial board members should be included.
“We will engage in further conversations concerning whether certain job classifications will be included in the bargaining unit,” Dold said in his email.
Tronc spokeswoman Marisa Kollias did not respond to a request for comment Sunday evening.
The Chicago News Guild is part of the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America, which also represents the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Tronc-owned Baltimore Sun and L.A. Times, among other newspapers.
The guild has long represented newsroom staffers at the Chicago Sun-Times.
In March, staffers at Chicago-based humor website the Onion and its sister publications announced plans to join the Writers Guild of America East.