Journalists Of The Daily Progress Announce Plans To Form Union; Will Now Battle Billionaire Warren Buffet Toe-To-Toe


The journalists at The Daily Progress informed management this morning of their intent to form a union called The Blue Ridge Guild, a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA’s Washington-Baltimore Local.

The Daily Progress has seen its staff, employee compensation and newspaper page count dwindle to unhealthy and unrealistic proportions, especially for the only daily newspaper in a vibrant and world-class city like Charlottesville, Virginia.

Meghin Moore
“Forming a union will ensure journalists have a voice in the workplace to preserve jobs and advocate for the resources they need to tell the stories of the communities they serve,” said Meghin Moore, the newspaper’s digital content coordinator, in a release to The I Love CVille Network.

Billionaire Warren Buffet’s BH Media Group has owned The Daily Progress for the past seven years. Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of the BH Media Group, reported a net income of $21.7 billion for the first quarter of 2019 and $5.56 billion in profits.

The Daily Progress is the third BH-owned publication to form a union, following in the footsteps of Buffett’s flagship newspaper — The Omaha-World Herald in Nebraska. The Virginian-Pilot and the Daily Press also unionized last September, making The Daily Progress the third NewsGuild paper in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Reporters, photographers, designers, copy editors and other staff of The Progress have asked BH Media Group to voluntarily recognize the union. They plan to file cards with the National Labor Relations Board.

Katherine Knott
“The journalists of the Progress are determined to advocate for the resources we need to hold local government and businesses accountable and to win decent pay and benefits for ourselves so that we can continue careers we love,” said Katherine Knott, the paper’s K-12 education reporter.

Knott and Nolan Stout, the government reporter at The Daily Progress and the organizing committee member of The Blue Ridge Guild, will join me live on The I Love CVille Show on Tuesday, October 15 at 12:30 pm to discuss their unionization efforts.

This story hits close to home for me. In 2002, during my third year at the University of Virginia, while the newspaper was owned by Richmond-based Media General, I started a part-time job as a “stringer” or freelance writer for The Daily Progress. I was paid $30 per story. I covered evening news stories, including sporting events and community events, which often took five to six hours of my time.

By April, 2004, I earned a full-time position as a staff writer in the sports department. I was offered a salaried job that paid $10 per hour. I was expected to do 50-55 hours of work per week but was paid for 40 hours per week. I worked until 12:30 am five nights per week, including every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night and most holidays.

I concluded my tenure at The Daily Progress as one of the youngest editors in the history of the newspaper. I was barely 26 years old and watched some of my closest friends get fired, laid off or forced to quit because management asked us to take furloughs, refused to give us yearly raises or required us “to do more with less.”

Of course, these limitations impacted my colleagues who had families more than me because I was a bachelor at the time. In October, 2007, despite earning a handful of Virginia Press Awards and carte blanche with my editorial coverage, I was exhausted, demoralized, damn near broke and eager to make a career change.

I walked into the managing editor’s office – it was McGregor McCance, a fantastic newspaperman, but a boss with very little authority – and submitted my resignation with four weeks notice. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in life.

Regardless of my path, newspapers, especially daily ones, are paramount to any community because they serve as the “watch dog” of accountability and the outlet of record that documents history.

Charlottesville needs The Daily Progress, and the newspaper is only as strong as its staff writers, photographers, copy editors, designers and other editorial staff. I applaud and admire this unit for their courage, vision and unification. These journalists have drawn a line in the sand and are glaring at a billionaire and daring him to blink. Now, time will tell how Buffett, who has stockholders to answer to, will respond.

Join Stout and Knott on Tuesday, October 15 at 12:30 pm on The I Love CVille Show for more answers and insight.

Photo Credits: Zack Wajsgras

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CEO Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller is the CEO of The Miller Organization, The I Love CVille Network, VMV Brands, The Blue Ridge Venture Fund, I Love CVille Real Estate and Charlottesville Business Brokers which are all headquartered in Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Jerry is passionate about the #ShopLocal movement and supporting locally-owned businesses. Get to know Jerry at