Newspaper employees vote against joining union

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(Host) Workers at the Brattleboro Reformer voted Thursday by a 2 to 1 margin not to join the Pace International Union. The final count included workers in the news, composing and advertising departments. Twenty-one people vote against the union; 10 voted in favor. Union supporters said some people who signed cards asking for the election voted against representation.

Union Representative Ronald Pickering said he filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board last week. The charge claims MediaNews Group, the paper’s Denver-based owner, used unfair tactics to combat the union. The paper’s managing editor is also named in the charge.

(Pickering) “In my opinion, what I put on the charge was, that I don’t believe I could get a fair election. And I had majority of cards signed, and obviously only got ten votes. So that tells me that something happened.”

(Host) In earlier charges, the union claimed the paper fired a news reporter for his organizing activity. The paper has denied the charge. Reformer Publisher David Emmons declined to comment on the charges pending before the Labor Board. In a brief statement he said he respected the employees’ wishes not to be represented by the union.

Reformer Managing Editor Kate Casa says its time to resolve the bad feelings that surfaced over the election.

(Casa) “The healing has to start and that’s the hard part, and there’s a lot of healing that needs to be done to bring the Reformer back to its full potential.”

(Host) The issues that gave rise to the organizing effort included wages, job security and a grievance procedure.

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