The parent company of the Bangor Daily News said Friday it would recognize a new union that will represent more than 30 newsroom members.
The unionization effort became public on Wednesday, when a group of employees announced its intention to organize as part of the News Guild of Maine. The new bargaining unit will cover reporters, digital editors, photographers, editorial page writers and staff at the BDN and weeklies in Penobscot, Aroostook and Piscataquis counties.
“While we prefer to work with employees directly, we have lots to talk about with the News Guild as it forms its unit here,” BDN President Todd Benoit wrote in an email to staff. “I look forward to hearing new ideas about ways to navigate the difficult paths that all news media must travel these days.”
The BDN Union cited a desire to improve working conditions, pay equity and work schedules as the main reasons for its effort.
“We can’t wait to celebrate with our community once we have our binding voluntary recognition agreement signed,” the union tweeted on Friday morning.
The drive is part of a national movement of newsroom organizing over the past decade. The employees join other unionized Maine newsrooms at the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, which are owned by Masthead Maine.
Last year, Poynter counted more than 200 union drives in U.S. newsrooms during the previous decade and 2020 saw more drives than any of the previous five years. After peaking at $49.6 billion in 2006, newspaper advertising revenue plummeted to an estimated $9.6 billion in 2020, with circulation now making up the larger part of the business.