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South Bend Tribune News Staff Move To Form Union

south bend tribune

(Justin Hicks)

Staff at the largest newspaper in South Bend announced Wednesday they hope to become the fourth in the state to unionize. Staff members of the South Bend Tribune requested the National Labor Relations Board oversee a union election next month.

The move to unionize comes in reaction to a series of ownership changes over the past year.  For more than 100 years The Tribune was owned by a local media company before being acquired by GateHouse Media early last year. That happened at the same time The Hoosier Times newspaper group, including the Bloomington Herald Times was sold to Gatehouse.

READ MORE: Herald-Times, Other Local Papers Sold To GateHouse Media

GateHouse immediately eliminated 11 jobs at the South Bend Tribune and six at the Hoosier Times Group. 

Then Shortly afterward, GateHouse merged with USA Today Network owner, Gannett, in a move that affected papers including the Indianapolis Star and the Journal and Courier in Lafayette.

LISTEN: How Will The Merger Of Gannett And GateHouse Affect Local Journalism?

Tyler James is a sports reporter at The South Bend Tribune. He says although they’ve avoided significant layoffs so far, staff fear Gannett’s reputation for cutting newsroom staff and lowering wages. 

“The newspaper means certainly a lot to all of us that work at The Tribune, but I think it means a lot to people locally as well,” he says. “We believe this will help sustain the newspaper moving forward.”

If the vote to organize passes, news staff would gain the ability to collectively bargain for things like wages and hours. 

Sara Wittmeyer contributed to this story.

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