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Idaho Statesman journalists plan to unionize after parent company files for bankruptcy

The journalists announced plans to unionize as the Idaho News Guild on Monday.
Credit: KTVB
File photo of the Idaho Statesman front page on Monday, March 2.

BOISE, Idaho — Journalists at the Idaho Statesman, including news and sports reporters, a columnist, and a photographer, announced that they are planning on forming a union.

The announcement comes just over two weeks after the parent company of the Idaho Statesman, McClatchy, filed for bankruptcy protection.

All eligible employees at the Statesman signed a mission statement declaring their intentions of forming a union to the paper's publishers and asked McClatchy Co. to recognize the union. If the Statesman's parent company doesn't, then they'll contact the National Labor Relations Board and hold a union election.

Journalists at the Statesman will unionize as the Idaho News Guild, which will be represented by The NewsGuild, a sector of the Communications Workers of America.

In the announcement, employees cited rampant turnover, pay, layoffs, and unpaid furloughs, among other reasons, as to why they decided to unionize.

"No one can predict the future," Michael Lycklama, a sportswriter who has worked at the Statesman since 2014, said in a statement. "But one thing is certain. Without a strong union representing our newsroom, the Idaho Statesman will be weaker and less able to serve our community the news it deserves."

John Sowell, a reporter with the Statesman since 2013, said while they're proud of their work, morale has dropped after layoffs, stagnant pay, and worsening benefits.

"Getting summoned to the editor's office or to an unscheduled staff meeting makes me wonder whether I'm getting laid off," he said.

MORE: Idaho Statesman owner McClatchy files for bankruptcy protection

RELATED: KTVB and Idaho Press announce local news partnership

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