Members of the Pawtucket Newspaper Guild and the Woonsocket Newspaper Guild have overwhelmingly voted to merge with the Providence Newspaper Guild (PNG). The votes were 33-0 in Woonsocket, on March 12 and 13, and 22-0 in Pawtucket on on March 6.
The merger will push the membership of the Providence Newspaper Guild back over 500, a number that diminished through attrition at the Providence Journal and at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a separate bargaining unit of the PNG. "It will permit the Pawtucket and Woonsocket locals to focus on collective bargaining and the day to day problems that a union has to without the burden of government reports and bookkeeping," says PNG administrator Tim Schick. "In addition, it will give them access to additional technical expertise from our office."
Schick says the union merger coincided with, but was not influenced by, Journal Register's sale of the newspapers involving the two locals, the Times of Pawtucket and the Call of Woonsocket, to Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers. It is hoped, he says, that economies of scale will make possible an eventual reduction in dues.
Talks are expected to start later this year for the separate expiring contracts of Guild members at the ProJo and the Telegram & Gazette.