August 19, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Lakeland, FL – The Lakeland Ledger became the first newspaper in Florida to get a union newsroom Aug. 11, when its reporters, photographers and copy editors voted 23–3 to be represented by the NewsGuild.
About half the Central Florida newspaper’s staff has been laid off since it was acquired by GateHouse Media in 2015, the NewsGuild, a Communications Workers of America affiliate, said in a statement. “They have made large profits, enough to give investors and corporate managers large pay increases, but there have been no raises for us in years and we have the uncertainty of more layoffs,” said senior reporter John Chambliss. “Our work contributes to their ability to give those increases to others.” GateHouse is a subsidiary of New Media Investment Group, which owns 87 daily newspapers, primarily in small and medium-sized cities, and is managed by the private-equity firm Fortress Investment Group. The Ledger was long owned by the New York Times Company, which sold it in 2011. Read more