The journalists of the Capital Gazette newspapers, The Carroll County Times and the Baltimore Sun Media Group announced a joint effort to unionize as the Chesapeake News Guild.

According to the announcement, the Chesapeake News Guild, a project of the Baltimore-Washington News Guild, represents three newsrooms joined as one to demand from its owners — Tribune Publishing — “better pay, greater representation and stronger investment in our newsrooms.”

“The photographers, reporters, designers and copy editors that fill our ranks work for The Capital, serving Annapolis and Anne Arundel County; the Towson Times; the Catonsville Times; the Carroll County Times; The Aegis, serving Harford County; the Howard County Times; the Bowie-Blade News; The Crofton-West County Gazette; and the nation’s oldest newspaper, the Maryland Gazette,” according to the announcement.

A majority of those journalists have signed authorization cards, with the hopes of banding together and preventing their communities from becoming news deserts. We have more than 70 percent support among eligible employees, organizers reported.

More information is available on the Chesapeake News Guild’s website.

“Though our papers are scattered around the Baltimore region, our dedication to the readers we serve unites us,” said Danielle Ohl, a reporter for The Capital. “Because we all value community journalism, we hope it’s around for generations to come.”

Acquired between 2012 and 2014 by the Baltimore Sun, the papers represented by the Chesapeake News Guild make up the Baltimore Sun Media Group. And though The Sun owns these papers, the employees are not a part of the Baltimore Sun’s union.

“The Baltimore Sun, whose roots as a union shop date to 1934, once competed against these community papers,” said Scott Dance, the Baltimore Sun union’s chair in a release. “But its suburban bureaus have disappeared as it instead leans on these papers, which it purchased in 1997 and 2014, for hyperlocal coverage. The Sun’s Guild employees stand in solidarity with these colleagues – it is long past time for them to earn the same rights and benefits Sun staff have defended for decades.”

The Baltimore Sun Media Group papers are owned by the Baltimore Sun, which is in turn owned by Tribune Publishing. The Chesapeake News Guild is the fourth group to unionize under Tribune management, following the Chicago Tribune Guild, the Tidewater Media Guild and the Los Angeles Times Guild.

The Washington-Baltimore News Guild (WBNG) is the legally recognized union for more than 2,600 news, information and labor-organization workers for 27 different employers, mainly in the metropolitan Washington and Baltimore areas. In this role, the employers at Guild-represented workplaces are legally obligated to bargain with the union over the compensation, benefits and working conditions of their employees.

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