Northampton City Council To Weigh In On Daily Hampshire Gazette
The Northampton, Massachusetts, City Council will consider a resolution Thursday night in support of workers at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The employee union at the Gazette and the paper's owner, Newspapers of New England, have been locked in contract negotiations for nearly two years — not long after the paper's workers organized.
There have been significant layoffs since the pandemic began.
Thirteen workers were let go in March last year, which company officials said at the time was due to a downturn in advertising revenue. In July, nine full-time and 20 part-time employees lost jobs when the Gazette's printing press was shut down, and the newspaper's production was outsourced. And five more layoffs took place last December as part of a restructuring.
City Councilor Rachel Maiore, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, said the Gazette is an important resource for city government and residents alike, and that it is important to show support to its workers.
"We're really looking to Newspapers of New England to bargain in good faith with the workers, and realize their value, give them a worthwhile contract that reflects that," Maiore said.
The resolution also encourages the local community to support the Gazette in order to keep it financially viable. It calls for laid-off workers "to be rehired if their positions return to the paper." It also asks Newspapers of New England to make a commitment to local ownership.
The Gazette's building on Conz Street was also put up for sale last summer. It remains on the market for $4.2 million. The paper's leadership at the time said it planned to continue to publish it in Northampton.