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Dallas Morning News, Al Día Journalists Plan To Unionize

The front of The Dallas Morning News' office in downtown Dallas.

Journalists at The Dallas Morning News on Monday announced their plans to unionize. The union would include journalists at the newspaper, as well as Al Día Dallas, its Spanish-language sister publication.

The publications are asking parent company A.H. Belo Corporation to recognize the Dallas News Guild as part of The News Guild-Communications Workers of America. The guild would cover more than 100 journalists.

Union recognition would make way for contract negotiations with news staff, organizers say.

Journalists with the Morning News and Al Día say they're concerned about pay equity, as well as the departures of several colleagues either through layoffs or for other opportunities. They say they want to partner with management “to keep the paper strong.”

“We understand our industry is in turmoil,” the group said in a statement. “This tumult has resulted in no-raise promotions, increased work without increased pay and staffing that has been cut to the bone. ... We seek to work with management to build a more stable and secure environment so that local journalism can thrive.”

Organizers say the Dallas News Guild, if recognized, would be the first newspaper union of its kind in recent history to be formed in Texas, which is a “right-to-work” state.

Newspaper officials didn’t have much to say Monday about the unionization effort.

“We are taking the letter under advisement,” publisher Grant Moise said in a statement. “It's our privilege to provide a world-class news report to the people of North Texas and we will continue to do so.”

Cassandra Jaramillo is a reporter at the Morning News and a member of the union’s organizing committee. 

“It feels like we’re down to the bare bones in handling the 24-hour major coverage that you can depend on,” Jaramillo said in an interview with KERA.

Jaramillo says conversations to unionize started about a year ago.

“The pandemic is putting real economic pressure on local journalism and we understand that but before cuts are just made so abruptly we really hope to talk with management on how we navigate that,” she said.

Imelda Garcia, a reporter at Al Día Dallas, said the goal of unionizing is to protect local journalism.

“Our multi-diverse community needs strong journalists to tell the stories that must be told in these troubled times,” she said in a statement. “The time for unity is now.” 

David Tarrant, a Morning News reporter, said he and his colleagues “are under no illusions about the difficulties faced by newspapers.”

“We believe that by uniting as partners with management, we can keep the paper and its many platforms alive and serve our readers and audiences across Texas and beyond in meaningful ways for years to come," Tarrant said in a statement. 

Several other newspapers and online news organizations across the country have either recently formed unions or been unionized for some time. Journalists at The Los Angeles Times voted in 2018 to unionize. BuzzFeed employees formed a union last year.

This story has been updated with comments from newspaper officials.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the Dallas newspaper union, if formed, would be the first of its kind in Texas. It would be the first of its kind in recent history.