Jon Schleuss, a 32-year-old data journalist at the Los Angeles Times, has been elected president of the NewsGuild, unseating 12-year incumbent Bernie Lunzer.
After a rerun of an election held in the spring, Schleuss won by a vote of 1,979 to 1,514, said the guild, which is part of the Communications Workers of America, in a statement. The previous election was recast after complaints over failure to ensure that the ballots reached all eligible voters. In that election, Lunzer won 1,282 to 1,021.
Schleuss played an important role in a historic campaign to secure union representation at The Times after 130 years as a nonunion newsroom. The organizing effort helped to spur an increase in union activity in the publishing industry, which has been buffeted by shifts in advertising and consumption.
“While I have won the office of President of the NewsGuild, the real winners here are the members who organized, mobilized, and claimed the future for their union and for themselves,” Schleuss said in the statement. He said he planned to work for stronger contracts, to organize more workers and provide more transparency, and better connection between members and leaders.
Schleuss joined the L.A. Times in 2013. Previously he was a manager at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and worked as a host at the local NPR station.
Schleuss, who starts a four-year term immediately, was also elected as one of the youngest presidents of an international union. Representing some 475 members of its newsroom, the L.A. Times Guild worked on a first collective bargaining agreement for more than a year. It led to pay raises of at least 5% and locked in future increases after years of stagnation in salaries. Other newspapers such as the Arizona Republic and Chicago Tribune also moved to form a union.
The guild represents about 20,000 journalists and other workers in the United States and Canada, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, Reuters, BuzzFeed News and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.