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Published on February 22, 2024
San Antonio Express-News Journalists Rally to Form Union Amid Industry UpheavalSource: Google Street View

In an assertive move for improved working conditions, journalists and reporters at the San Antonio Express-News and MYSA are banding together to form a union. Workers at the 159-year-old Texas newspaper and its digital counterpart made public their intent to leverage collective bargaining for better pay, stable benefits, and career advancement opportunities, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

With the media industry navigating turbulent waters, 68% of the eligible employees at the San Antonio Express-News and have voted to unionize, as per the San Antonio NewsGuild's statement obtained by KENS 5. Their union ambitions, however, were met with resistance by Hearst, the owning company, which refused to voluntarily recognize the new union, leading to a clash of interests.

The newly formed San Antonio NewsGuild, representing 68 journalists, has voiced their collective goal of creating an inclusive working environment. "Our union is dedicated to promoting a workplace that celebrates differences in race, gender, age, sexual orientation and background," stated their mission statement, emphasizing the drive to protect their future as a news provider. This action follows a pattern of unionization within the industry, with recent walkouts at The New York Daily News and Forbes over contract disputes, and significant layoffs at prominent publications such as Time magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

A statement outlined by the San Antonio NewsGuild, mentioned in the San Antonio Express-News, highlighted the journalists' pursuit of more "fair and competitive compensation, stable benefits and career development opportunities." Hearst, responding to the workers' letter requesting the union's recognition, questioned the journalists' tally of support, suggesting a disagreement over the actual number of eligible employees and the percentage in favor.

As traditional print circulation sees a continuous decline and advertising revenues plummet, journalists at the San Antonio Express-News are decisively seeking to halt the industry's downturn impact on their livelihoods. Express-News Metro Columnist Elaine Ayala told KENS 5, "We didn't come to this decision lightly... We made it after careful reflection of this newsroom's past, present and future. The truth is we've needed union representation at the Express-News for a long time, and we're glad this day has finally arrived."