Wisconsin Watch voluntarily recognizes NewsGuild union

By: - November 6, 2023 4:22 pm

Reporters wait outside the state Capitol for a press conference to begin in September 2023. Wisconsin Watch, a nonprofit investigative reporting news outlet, has voluntarily recognized a union formed by its reporters. (Wisconsin Examiner photo)

Two weeks after employees sought union representation at the nonprofit investigative news outlet Wisconsin Watch, the organization’s board of directors has voluntarily recognized the Wisconsin Watch Union.

The board and Wisconsin Watch Executive Director George Stanley agreed Friday to extend voluntary recognition to the union, which is affiliated with The NewsGuild-CWA, the union said in an announcement Monday. The employees presented signed union cards from 80% of the editorial and administrative staff to Stanley and the board on Oct. 23.

In the union’s statement, Wisconsin Watch reporter Jacob Resneck observed that the Wisconsin Watch Union’s mission statement and the news outlet’s guiding principles were in close alignment.

Jacob Resneck

“Wisconsin Watch is about protecting the vulnerable and exploring solutions,” Resneck said. “Organizing brings everyone to the table and gives them a voice to improve their workplace.”

In a statement included in the union’s announcement, Stanley, who assumed the leadership of Wisconsin Watch in October after retiring as editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, echoed the idea of a shared outlook on the part of the union and the news organization.

George Stanley, Wisconsin Watch executive director and CEO (Wisconsin Watch photo)

“We all want a workplace where people treat one another with respect, fairness and dignity,” Stanley said. “We all want to build a strong, sustainable newsroom that reports the stories that matter most — reporting that improves lives and serves folks with the information they need to make decisions and stay in charge of our republic. That is what this voluntary recognition agreement reflects.”

The Wisconsin Watch staff will join the NewsGuild-CWA’s Milwaukee local, which also represents editorial employees of the Journal Sentinel.

The union and Wisconsin Watch management will soon begin bargaining on a first contract for the employees, the union announcement said.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.