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Sign this petition for the Courier-Journal union, and let’s go six-for-six

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
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This Major League baseball fan can’t wait for the World Series.

I use baseball expressions year-round. Off the diamond, too, you can “hit a home run,” “strike out,” “come from out of left field” and “throw somebody a curve.”

But here’s one I really like: “four-for-four” – as in successful union organizing efforts in Louisville.

Half-Price Books (UFCW Local 227), Heine Brothers (NCFO SEIU 32BJ) and Starbucks coffee (Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board (CMRJB) of Workers United, also a SEIU affiliate) have voted for a union. So have Sysco-Louisville truck drivers (Teamsters 89).

Here's hoping it will be “six-for-six” soon. Waiting “on deck” for union votes are workers at Sunergos coffee shops (NCFO SEIU 32BJ)  and in the Louisville Courier-Journal newsroom (The NewsGuild of Indianapolis CWA Local 34070).

No sooner was the C-J drive announced than an online petition in support of the union began circulating.

Explains the petition: “Members of the Courier-Journal Guild have voted, with an overwhelming majority of eligible staff support, to form a union with The NewsGuild of Indianapolis (CWA Local 34070). We believe that management, staff, and the Louisville community deserve the best possible version of the Courier-Journal, and we believe that the best version of the Courier-Journal is a unionized one,” the petition says, urging the public to add its collective voice “to urge Gannett management to do what’s right.”

I was an early signee. So were a lot of my brothers and sisters from other Kentucky AFL-CIO affiliate unions.

I just checked, and the petition has collected 1,220 signatures toward a goal of 1,500. So if you've signed, thanks. If you haven’t, please do so now.

“Voluntarily Recognize the Courier-Journal Guild” says the headline on the petition, which is directed to “Ms. Mary Irby-Jones and Gannett leadership.”

Evidently, the paper, which is owned by the less-than-union friendly Gannett Corp., has yet to print a word about the Guild. “Management is refusing to recognize the Courier Journal Guild after journalists announced last week [on Aug. 30] that they had the votes to unionize,” Spectrum News 1 staffer Chris Hughes reported on September 7. Management evidently still isn’t budging.

“It’s a shame they’d rather waste the company’s time and money than voluntarily recognize the supermajority of the newsroom who supports the union,” Hughes quoted the Guild’s tweeted response.

Brothers and sisters — and friends of organized labor — let’s do our part to make it “six-for-six" on union campaigns in the Falls City. No matter where you live — my home is in Arlington, 8 miles east of the Mississippi River and 250 miles west of Louisville — you can show your support for C-J staffers by signing the petition and show the Sunergos employees that we’ve got their backs, too, by checking in with 32BJ to find out what you can to help.

Here’s the petition text:

To: Ms. Mary Irby-Jones and Gannett leadership
From: [Your Name]


As current and former staff members, partners, sources, and community supporters of the Louisville Courier-Journal, we believe wholeheartedly that you should voluntarily recognize the Courier-Journal Guild.

Members of the CJG have voted, with an overwhelming majority of eligible staff support, to form a union with The NewsGuild of Indianapolis (CWA Local 34070). We celebrate their strength and unity and encourage you to do the same. We believe that you, your staff, and the Louisville community deserve the best possible version of the Courier-Journal, and we believe that the best version of the Courier-Journal is a unionized one.

We applaud the Courier-Journal’s decades of quality journalism covering Louisville, the state of Kentucky, and Southern Indiana. The Courier-Journal has told the stories of Kentucky that most need telling, from the state’s rampant child abuse problem to the daily protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor and the resulting litigation. When the COVID-19 pandemic threw everything out of balance and even the Kentucky Derby was affected, the Courier-Journal was there to research and explain it all. We believe that, as leaders of a legacy newspaper with 11 Pulitzer prizes, you understand the vital role unions play in building strong, inclusive, and equitable news organizations. You have an opportunity to show great leadership in our community by standing with your workers and recognizing the CJG.

As it says in the CJG’s Mission Statement, “the power of the press must be protected at all costs" – for the sake of the Courier-Journal, its staff and the communities it serves. We look forward to hearing that you have voluntarily recognized the CJG, and that you have continued to lead the way in affirming your commitment to your staff and the communities you serve.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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