UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Utica News Guild members, a union representing journalists, photographers, and other staff at the Utica Observer-Dispatch and the Herkimer Times Telegram, joined over half a dozen other shops at Gannett-owned papers today for a walkout.

From layoffs to several positions being left vacant, employees within the Gannett parent company are frustrated and are finally saying “enough is enough” – as they have constantly been bargaining for a new contract agreement since the start of 2022, with hopes for higher wages, better benefits, and improvements to newsroom diversity.

“We know the community has been kind of hurting for local news, especially with our paper, that they’re seeing the number of national, you know, USA Today articles filling up our website and filling up our paper, and we’re sick of it too,” said H. Rose Schneider, Unit Chair at the Utica News Guild.

“We just need to, you know, get the bodies back in the newsroom to cover the local news.”

She continued, “We want to have that diversity of news coverage, we want to have a paper that’s like the Rome Sentinel – that’s hyper-local to Rome – and we want to have that in Utica.”

“We want to have multiple news sites that you can get your coverage from and with the time and staff that we have, I think we’re doing great work, but you know, you can’t just keep cutting us back and expect us to be putting forth the same level of journalism, or the same amount of work.”

Instead of publishing on the Observer-Dispatch’s website, members have launched a strike paper at gannettunions.org/utica, where readers can also find more information on why members have walked out.

And if you’re looking for a way to help, here is a link to their petition and to their GoFundMe “Walkout Fund.”