Sarasota Herald-Tribune newsroom votes to unionize

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The newsroom staff of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Thursday narrowly voted to unionize, according to the NewsGuild-CWA, which now will represent those employees.

The final tally was 22-16, the union said.

“We are ready to have a voice and a place at the table where decisions affecting our staff and our service to the community are made,” said Elizabeth Johnson, an investigative reporter who joined the paper in April 2012. “We’re looking forward to exerting that voice through a fair contract.”

This makes the second Florida newspaper to unionize since last month, when the news staff of The Ledger of Lakeland also voted to join the News Guild-CWA. That vote was much more lopsided, however, at 22-3 in favor of unionizing.

Both papers are owned by GateHouse Media.

The Ledger and the Herald-Tribune were owned for decades by the New York Times Co., then were sold to Halifax Media in 2011, and again sold to GateHouse in 2015.

“Both papers have begun preparations to begin separate negotiations with GateHouse to hammer out contracts in the coming months,” the union’s news release said.

The Herald-Tribune received the Pulitzer for investigative reporting this year for a collaborative series with the Tampa Bay Times on Florida’s mental hospitals.