Maine News: Bangor Daily News Voluntarily Recognizes News Staff Union / by Andy O’Brien

Photo Credit: NCM

The parent company of the Bangor Daily News agreed last Friday to recognize a new union that will represent more than 30 newsroom members.

The unionization effort went public last week, when a group of BDN employees announced its intention to organize as part of the News Guild of Maine, Local 31128 of the Communications Workers of America. The new bargaining unit will cover reporters, digital editors, photographers, editorial page writers and staff at the BDN and weeklies in Penobscot, Aroostook and Piscataquis counties.

“While we prefer to work with employees directly, we have lots to talk about with the News Guild as it forms its unit here,” BDN President Todd Benoit wrote in an email to staff. “I look forward to hearing new ideas about ways to navigate the difficult paths that all news media must travel these days.

BDN news staff fired off a series of celebratory tweets.

“I’m so proud of my colleagues for all their hard work that lead to this moment,” tweeted BDN news desk editor Chris Burns, who is also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. “We won this through the sheer force of our overwhelming support and solidarity. We’ll take the win today, because the real work has just begun.”

The staff say their priorities in a new contract include improving working conditions, pay equity, fair reimbursement and benefit policies, and work schedules that reflect the actual time and effort they put into their jobs.

“It’s been such a joy to experience the camaraderie inside the @bangordailynews newsroom as we rallied around our love of the paper, the job we do and the mission we serve,” BDN reporter Callie Ferguson tweeted, “and it’s heartening to see management recognize that so quickly. Please celebrate us by sending [news] tips.”

“Today would be a good day to subscribe to the BDN,” tweeted BDN Lia Russell.

We echo that sentiment and encourage you to support our fellow union brothers in the News Guild of Maine by subscribing at the Bangor Daily NewsPortland Press Herald/Maine Sunday TelegramMorning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. By doing so, you not only support union jobs, but help sustain local news reporting at a very challenging time for the news industry.

Andy O’Brien handles internal and external communications at Maine AFL-CIO.

Originally published in the Maine AFL-CIO Weekly Update, May 12, 2022,