Newsroom employees at Embarcadero Media announced that they are forming a union on Tuesday. The proposed Embarcadero Community News Guild includes reporters, editors, visual journalists and designers across the company's Peninsula and East Bay publications.
The aim of the new union is "to ensure that every newsroom employee has a say in the future of our various newspapers and outlets across the Bay Area," the Embarcadero Community News Guild's organizing committee said in an email to the company. "In that future, our union wants to fight for a seat on the bargaining table — we want input into our jobs, workload, benefits, time off and pay."
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Embarcadero Media publishes three weekly newspapers -- the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac and Pleasanton Weekly -- as well as online outlets Mountain View Voice, Redwood City Pulse, Livermore Vine, The Six Fifty, DanvilleSanRamon.com and Peninsula Foodist.
Adam Dawes, CEO of Embarcadero Media, said Tuesday that management needs to familiarize themselves with their role, responsibilities and legal obligations, so he could offer only a limited response.
"Throughout our history we have always valued our employees and think of their well being as an essential part of how we do business," said Dawes in a company-wide email responding to the unionization announcement. "We look forward to working collaboratively with you to get to a resolution that is positive for everyone involved and supports the continued mission of our organization going forward."
Nearly 90% of non-management newsroom employees signed union authorization cards, according to Embarcadero Community News Guild organizers. The guild published its mission statement on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday morning.
"Through our range of work, from breaking news to features to investigative pieces, readers across four Bay Area counties turn to us to get to know the places they live and rely on us to hold local municipalities accountable. And we’re really proud of this work!" the guild posted on X. "But the last few years at Embarcadero, we’ve experienced layoffs, reductions in hours and jobs, limited resources and an exodus of talented employees. These conditions threaten our ability to keep you, the public, informed."
From Hollywood actors and screenwriters to autoworkers, high profile strikes have highlighted the growing clout of organized labor after a decades-long decline in the ranks of American workers who belong to a union. The Washington Post reported in June that media union membership has grown rapidly over the past decade, with recent unionization efforts at news organizations including ProPublica, CalMatters and CNET.
"While this notice comes as an immediate surprise, we do recognize that this is a trend in the industry," Dawes said.
The Embarcadero Community News Guild said it will negotiate a contract as a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, which represents other Bay Area news publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Mercury News, the Press Democrat and the East Bay Times.