Puneet Varma

The Newspaper Guild

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Full name  The Newspaper Guild
Members  32,000
Founded  1933
Affiliation  IFJ
Head union  Communications Workers of America
Key people  Bernie Lunzer, president

The Newspaper Guild-CWA is a labor union founded by newspaper journalists in 1933 who noticed that unionized printers and truck drivers were making more money than they did. In addition to improving wages and working conditions, its constitution says its purpose is to fight for honesty in journalism and the news industry's business practices.


The organization's founders were Joseph Cookman an editor of the New York Post, Allen Raymond of the New York Herald Tribune and Heywood Broun of the New York World-Telegram. Carl Randau was its director from 1934 to 1940. It was originally called the American Newspaper Guild, but it changed its name in the 1970s to reflect the fact that it also operated outside the United States. It had expanded into Canada in the 1950s.

It became affiliated with the American Federation of Labor in 1936, then left to go into the new Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1937, when it expanded its membership to non-editorial departments. It merged with the Communications Workers of America in 1995. The Guild is also affiliated with the International Federation of Journalists.

Today, the Guild has more than 32,000 members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Its membership has expanded from just journalists to many other employees of newspapers and news agencies, such as clerks who take classified ads and computer support workers. It also represents workers in a number of other industries.

Its president is Bernie Lunzer and its secretary-treasurer is Carol Rothman.

Heywood’s influence and discovery

The Newspaper Guild, represented by many journalists and other written media workers since 1933, became one of the most continuous and effective media organizations in the United States. Heywood Broun was one of the most respected journalist and most popular, highly paid contributor. On August 7, 1933, Broun acknowledged the New York World Telegram column and the progress of the newspaper’s business which was successful. He evaluated the progress more closely with his bosses than any other colleague of similar economic standing. Broun wrote, “the fact that newspaper editors and owners are genial folk should hardly stand in the way of organization of a newspaper writers’ union. There should be [always] one.” His column has influenced journalists from many states to rise up in opposition to the newspaper’s authorities and gather by publishers to show the importance of the newspaper company and expanding the foundation.

Heywood launched the Guild during the Depression according to the biography which Richard O’Connor said, “newspapermen to take a more practical view of their working conditions and organize against the rapacity of publishers.” During the earlier times of the Guild, there were complaints from the “rapacious” publishers about federal regulation of minimum wages and maximum hours for newsroom workers set by the National Recovery Act. The publishers wanted an amount of money to not pay tax on from the NRA on constitutional grounds and their First Amendment rights would be prohibited if the workers were forced to restrictive management under the government as the forty-hour work week. This rallied around from Broun’s call for labor union and one would speak for all newsmen and newswomen.

Progress on their business and name

From 1933 to the present, the Guild grew with over 35,000 reporters, photographers, editors, advertising sales representatives, professional service aid, and other workers for the media which not only occurred in the United States, but also throughout Canada and in Puerto Rico. In 1970s, the newspaper company expanded their business outside of the United States and founded a name that was the Newspaper Guild or TNG. The company also collaborated with another company called the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in 1977. This was a union that had already had hundreds of thousands of workers in telecommunications and media, and later formed into a new name called The Newspaper Guild-CWA.

Depression within the business

Over time the business became a success, but it also had its issues within the company. The impact on print media workers of the industry in the past few decades has changed in unexpected ways. In 1950, exactly 1,774 daily newspapers were in the United States. Over the decades, an unexpected outcome happened in 2002 as only 1,457 were in the United States, showing a 18 percent decrease. During the same period, the quantity of newspapers with circulations raised more than 250,000 increased by 8.5 percent, but the total newspaper circulation was declining. The amount of daily newspapers dropped while of large newspapers showed popularity with an increase. This caused a depressive movement on the company because they needed to lose members. A poll was announced and polled people in late February 2004 which queried members of the Guild if they knew anyone that was laid off. Of those who were surveyed, 76 percent responded that they knew of at least one colleague who had lost their job in the past five years. As well as one of the five reported that they needed to leave by themselves as it was risky.


The Walter P. Reuther Library is the official repository of The Newspaper Guild Official Archives. Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

  • Newspaper Guild Records, 1933-1973. 156.5 linear feet.
  • St. Louis Newspaper Guild Local 47 Records, 1933-1966. 10.5 linear feet.
  • Detroit Newspaper Guild Local 22 Records. 1933-2007. 67.25 linear feet.
  • Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild Local 82 Records. 1950-1976. 6.5 linear feet.
  • Columbus Newspaper Guild Local 13 Records. 1934-1986. 5.5 linear feet.
  • References

    The Newspaper Guild Wikipedia

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