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Dallas Morning News Staff Votes To Unionize

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The staff of the Dallas Morning News voted to unionize Friday, becoming the first newspaper in Texas to do so amid a recent wave of labor organizing at news outlets across the country.

The Dallas News Guild announced that employees of the paper and its Spanish-language sister publication, Al Día, voted 84 to 28 in favor of unionizing.

The vote went to the National Labor Relations Board after the papers' parent company, A. H. Belo Corporation, declined to voluntarily recognize the union in July. The board must still certify the vote.

"We're thrilled that our colleagues overwhelmingly voted yes," Dave Tarrant, a longtime reporter and Guild spokesman, said in a statement. "We've been working on this for a year, and we're all extremely happy about the outcome and excited to move forward."

Meanwhile, Publisher Grant Moise told the paper that he's disappointed with the outcome of the vote.

"We felt strongly that the best way to move forward is without a third party being inserted into our newspapers' culture," Moise said. "We respect the rights of these employees and will proceed forward in good faith negotiations."

The vote comes at a challenging time for the Morning News and newspapers broadly.

Cassandra Jaramillo, a reporter covering public safety, spent the last year helping to organize the union while covering the impact of the pandemic and protests against police shootings.

"Local journalists are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic and the social justice movement. Dallas needs a strong newsroom now more than ever. We look forward to working with management to build an equitable and diverse newsroom."

The economic hardship of the coronavirus pandemic has been a blow to the industry, which was already struggling to adjust to the decline of print advertising revenue.

A. H. Belo reported a 25% drop in second-quarter revenue this year and temporarily cut the pay of some employees, according to the Morning News. The paper's editor announced his resignation in September.

The vote at the 135-year-old Texas newspaper is part of a national trend and an inroad for newsroom unionization efforts in a state that's traditionally been resistant to labor organizing.

This week, journalists of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also announced a union drive. Similar efforts have been successful in recent years at major newspapers including, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Arizona Republic, as well as smaller publications.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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