Unions Join With Private Investors To Keep Chicago Sun-Times Out Of Hands Of Tribune Owner
A unique alliance of labor unions and private investors announced Thursday that they had purchased the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, along with the weekly Chicago Reader. Organized by the Chicago Federation of Labor, the coalition includes Service Employees International Union branches representing health care and janitorial workers, as well as the Laborers, Carpenters and Operating Engineers unions. The purchase prevented a bid by the owner of rival newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, which raised concerns that the two papers would be merged at the expense of jobs, journalistic integrity and the diversity of voices in the country’s third largest media market.
Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez is now, also, Chairman of the Sun-Times.
[Jorge Ramirez]: “As you can see, this is a historic coalition of people from across the social spectrum and the societal spectrum who came together with one common goal. Together, we’ve embarked on a monumental effort to preserve independent media entities in Chicago and protect their journalistic integrity. Since its inception, the labor movement remains committed to raising people up by building strong communities. We believe that this begins by protecting the common good. The Chicago Federation of Labor represents more than three hundred unions that in turn represent more than half-a-million working men and women across Chicago and Cook County who rely on and value honest and ethical reporting.”
Craig Rosenbaum is Executive Director of the Chicago News Guild, which represents newsroom workers at the Sun-Times and the Reader. While they were not involved with the coalition that purchased the paper, they were pleased they didn’t end up in the hands of the owners of the Tribune:
[Craig Rosenbaum]: “I think it’s great now that we have, actually, owners that want to talk about issues that are important to working class people, that are important to minorities, because that’s really what Chicago is made up of. I think it should get national attention because I don’t know of this ever happening, ever. This is a challenging industry, and I think that if unions want the issues of working people covered, what better than to own a legacy new outlet like the Chicago Sun Times.”