Embarcadero Media voluntarily recognizes newsroom union

by Contributed Content on October 18, 2023

The newsroom staff of Embarcadero Media, the independently owned award-winning community journalism company covering parts of the San Francisco Peninsula and East Bay that includes The Almanac in Menlo Park, today announced that company leadership has voluntarily recognized the Embarcadero Community News Guild as a unit of the Communication Workers of America.

On Sept. 26, the newsroom staff announced that they had formed a union to confront concerns about newsroom turnover, budget cuts and resource limitations. The vast majority, nearly 90% of non-management newsroom staff, have signed cards authorizing union representation by The Pacific Media Workers Guild, NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521.

Founded in 1979, the company now operates three community newspapers and nine news and entertainment publications: the Palo Alto Weekly, the Pleasanton Weekly, The Almanac, the Mountain View Voice, DanvilleSanRamon.com, the Redwood City Pulse, The Six Fifty, the Peninsula Foodist and the Livermore Vine.

Since the pandemic began, Embarcadero Media’s newsroom has been hit hard by layoffs and reductions in hours, leaving remaining employees to take on more work with fewer resources and making it harder for the newsroom to pursue its goals of holding those in power accountable and keeping readers informed.

Non-management newsroom staff, which includes reporters, editors, designers and visual journalists, said they’re forming a union across their Palo Alto and Pleasanton divisions to cultivate a more diverse, equitable newsroom that supports its employees with living wages and allows them to have a say in their job descriptions and the future direction of the company. The Embarcadero Community News Guild also wants to ensure that freelancers and interns who contribute to our newsroom are compensated fairly for their work.

“Today marks an important milestone for the Embarcadero Community News Guild and the company as a whole,” said Julia Brown, editor of The Six Fifty publication. “We appreciate that leadership has formally recognized our union and look forward to joining them at the table to negotiate a fair contract.”

Voluntary recognition of the Embarcadero Community News Guild comes at a time when newsrooms throughout the country are establishing their own unions. News organizations that have recently voluntarily recognized staff guilds include CalMatters, Cityside, ProPublica, Reveal CIR and Politico/E&E News.

Pictured left to right, back row: Sue Dremann, Zoe Morgan, Heather Zimmerman, Angela Swartz, Emily Margaretten, Julia Brown and Gennady Sheyner; front row: Jeanita Lyman, Magali Gauthier and Douglas Young.

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