Union supporters petition Brattleboro Reformer

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(Host) About a dozen supporters of a union drive at the Brattleboro Reformer went to the newspaper’s offices on Thursday, to present a petition signed by 750 people. The group wants the newspaper to reinstate reporter Eesha Williams. Williams claims he was fired for trying to organize a union at the paper. The paper says the firing was a personnel issue, unrelated to the union.

The petition asks the paper to refrain from speaking out against the union, unless the union gets equal time. But Publisher David Emmons says labor organizers have had plenty of access to employees:

(Emmons) “We just want both sides to be heard. We do have employees that are very vocal, that do not want to be represented by the union. And so if you’re suggesting that, we just accept it. Just based on those cards, we’ve denied the right of those who do not want to be represented and just want to deal with us as management one on one.”

(Host) More than half of the paper’s eligible employees have signed cards calling for a union election. Supporters say the top issues are job security and wages.

Brattleboro Progressive Sarah Edwards was one of four state legislators who turned out to support the union effort.

(Edwards) “I feel that the workers here obviously have the right to organize, they are organizing and they have a right to voice their opinion about earning a livable wage and receiving the benefits that they should.”

(Host) According to Eesha Williams, most Reformer workers including reporters make less than $10.50 an hour. The PACE International union has hired Williams, pending the outcome of the union vote on June 26.

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