Idaho NewsGuild unanimously ratifies first union contract. Here’s what it won

Two years after unanimously voting to form a union, Idaho NewsGuild members unanimously ratified their first contract with the Idaho Statesman and its corporate owner, McClatchy.

The Idaho NewsGuild voted 19-0 in favor of a three-year contract. Highlights include:

  • Raises of 9.9% to 27.7% for full-time employees
  • Guaranteed yearly raises 
  • $1,000 signing bonuses
  • $48,000 minimum salary for all current full-time journalists 
  • Strong protections against outsourcing
  • Just-cause protections
  • Parental leave
  • Improved vacation benefits

The ratification comes after a two-year battle to secure a first contract. During that time, journalists at the Idaho Statesman lived through a corporate bankruptcy, a hedge fund takeover and a global pandemic that altered daily life. They also watched McClatchy deny us benefits awarded to non-union employees, wrongfully fire our editor and try to force page view quotas on our journalists in violation of federal labor law.

“McClatchy tried to divide us at every turn,” said Michael Lycklama, an Idaho Statesman sports writer, bargaining committee member and Guild steward. “But we didn’t just survive. We emerged stronger each time.”

No employee can be disciplined solely for failing to meet page view goals under terms of the contract. And employees do not have to use them in their yearly performance evaluation.

The Idaho NewsGuild also secured the return of a 40-hour work week, company-provided cell phones, bonuses for night work, an improved grievance procedure, and health and safety protections. Additionally, McClatchy can not use non-disclosure agreements to settle claims of discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault.

“Our goals as a newsroom went unchanged throughout this process – to ensure we keep delivering critical information to our readers, while being able to afford to do so,” said Kevin Fixler, an Idaho Statesman investigative reporter and bargaining committee member. “We have now met that objective, and we very much appreciate the community’s long-standing support.”

The Idaho NewsGuild is part of a wave of journalists across the country and inside McClatchy forming unions to protect their community’s news coverage. Fourteen McClatchy newsrooms have unionized in the past three years, leaving 18 of the chain’s 31 newsrooms – more than half – with union representation.

A full copy of the contract will be posted to our website soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s