"Despite a year and a half of efforts, Post management has refused to bargain in good faith for a fair contract that keeps up with inflation and our competition," The Washington Post Guild said in a statement announcing that workers were walking out, with the strike in effect all Thursday, from midnight to midnight. The strike will include more than 700 employees, the union said, "including reporters, editors, cartoonists, visual journalists, advertising sales people and circulation drivers."
The union's grievances include "pay equity, raises that keep pace with inflation and our competitors, remote work policies, mental health supports, and a buyout package that seeks to reduce our workforce by 10 percent." Seeing the demand for mental health benefits, we can't help but think of Post reporter Taylor Lorenz, who -- despite having lived a charmed life -- memorably broke down crying on MSNBC, claiming she was the victim of PTSD and suicidal ideation springing from public reaction to her work:
In early November, the Post, which is owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, announced that former Wall Street Journal publisher William Lewis would become the paper's new chief executive and publisher. At the same time, the Post disclosed that it was on pace to lose $100 million this year, and that it would slash its headcount by about 10% with a goal of ending up with about 940 journalists.
Given the Post's dire financial condition, it's not surprising that, on pay alone, the gap between the union and company positions is huge. According to the guild, workers are asking for a $210 weekly raise, and 4% a year over three years, while Post management is offering a slim $21-per-week bump, 2.25% in year one and 2% each in the second and third years of the contract.
Workers @washingtonpost have been in contract negotiations with our bosses for 18 months.— Washington Post Guild (@PostGuild) December 5, 2023
But the company is refusing to pay us what we're worth or bargain in good faith.
So on Dec. 7, we're walking off the job for 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/GCraL1I0nm