Newsletter: 24 strikes in two weeks? Yep!

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It has been a very busy 2024! Just yesterday more than 200 workers across Tribune Publishing struck seven publications over the owner’s refusal to provide raises and retain a 401k match that employees depend on. The owner? Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund murdering America’s newsrooms. 

America’s journalists are standing up and fighting back. 

“We didn’t go into this job for the money, but Alden’s cuts have hit so close to the bone that we can’t even do our jobs as journalists anymore. Enough is enough. Journalists deserve to be able to retire with dignity,” said Madeline Buckley, criminal courts reporter at the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Tribune Guild unit chair. “The company’s insulting proposals on wages and benefits puts our future at risk, along with our ability to continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism this city relies upon.”

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Photo of the workers at the San Antonio Report wearing red shirts after going public with their union in January 2024

Workers at San Antonio Report walk off the job in protest of illegal layoff

At 11:30 a.m. Central Time Wednesday staffers at the San Antonio Report walked off the job after hearing that their colleague Sandra Santos was laid off by the nonprofit newsroom in Texas.

“This is exactly the type of thing we organized to prevent so we could find solutions for the organization and the members,” said Isaac Windes, an education reporter at the San Antonio Report.

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Newsletter: Law360 went on strike this morning

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NewsGuild-CWA members at Law360 are on strike today. Workers at the legal news service owned by LexisNexis are fed up with management’s illegal and stalling tactics at the bargaining table and started a one-day work stoppage in protest over management’s behavior.

The Law360 group is special to me (and yes, every member and bargaining unit is special to me). But Law360 members paved the way for my colleagues to organize at the Los Angeles Times. Law360 unionized in August of 2016 and set up a union website. We straight-up copied their “Union busting 101” page and most of their website. Law360 members applied aggressive collective action tactics, which we copied at the Times up to our union win in January 2018.

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Litigation against journalists is settled

We have some good news to share with all of you. 

As many of you know, we have been fighting a lawsuit filed by journalist Mike Elk since 2021. Elk targeted four Guild journalists, the international union and the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, accusing us of breach of contract, misrepresentation, defamation and other claims. The suit came in the wake of sexual harassment allegations in our Pittsburgh local. We updated you on the progress of the suit against us in October.

The suit has been a distraction from our work to improve the working conditions of our 26,000 members across North America. With that in mind, we have settled, with no admission of any liability, the suit with Elk and will make a $10,000 donation directly to Casa San Jose, a nonprofit Elk selected. 

We are happy to move on and focus our time and efforts on winning contracts and protecting our members. 

You can read the terms of the settlement here.

Newsletter: AI in the Senate, Scholastic and others get new deals

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Last week workers at Scholastic ratified a new contract that includes raises of 4.75%, 3.5% and 3.5% over three years. The new salary floor starts at $65,000 a year, mirroring wins at the New York Times, Insider and Conde Nast. Workers also won a $3,250 ratification bonus, added health and safety provision, a transparent and fair hybrid work agreement and they continued to fight off a management’s rights clause. I got to join the Scholastic rally during their one-day strike last month and started tearing up talking about how proud I am to be part of a union with folks who help young kids explore new worlds through reading. (Speaking as this kid who grew up in rural Arkansas.) Scholastic members are amazing!

Workers at the AFL-CIO also ratified a successor contract this weekend. The new contract includes raises of 13.25% over four years. Recent previous agreements only won signing bonuses, with no percent increase to staffers bottom lines. The raises only happened because workers put pressure on the boss, in this case the leaders of the AFL-CIO. They marched on the boss, they picketed outside headquarters, built a petition, demonstrated in the workplace and much more. I got to join several of their job actions in Washington, D.C. and was inspired by their solidarity. They work for the entire labor movement and yet were not afraid to hold the house of labor to account. 

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NewsGuild-CWA renews call to protect journalists abroad and at home as Israel-Hamas War continues

On November 9, The NewsGuild-CWA condemned the killing of 39 journalists and media workers in the Israel-Hamas War. Since that time, roughly 20 more have been killed and many others have been injured, harassed and detained. As stated by the Committee to Protect Journalists, this has been the deadliest month for journalists since they started gathering data in 1992. 

The nearly 60 known dead include 50 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese. Many currently reporting from Gaza have lost homes and family, and are reporting without regular access to phones, internet, shelter or power.

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Update on litigation against NewsGuild members

In June 2021 Mike Elk filed a lawsuit against four NewsGuild-CWA members, the international union and the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh alleging breach of contract over his sources, misrepresentation, defamation and other claims. His lawsuit against our members, myself included, came in the wake of sexual harassment allegations in our Pittsburgh local.

We believe that Elk’s lawsuit is meritless and are vigorously defending against his claims in court.

As Defendants, we are obligated to provide materials in discovery to Elk. In August, we responded to hundreds of requests for documents and questions from Elk. We turned over more than 1,400 pages of documents, including my communications with Ben Smith, a former media columnist at the New York Times. In our request to Elk for information, we asked for his correspondence with Smith, which relates directly to his claims in the lawsuit. We also asked Elk for any other communications he had related to his allegations.

We first asked him for relevant documents on September 19, 2022. Because Elk failed to fully comply with his discovery obligations, after many requests for him to do so, we were forced to file a motion to compel. On September 14, 2023, the Court granted our motion and ordered Elk to, “comply with discovery within thirty (30) days of this date of this Order or appropriate sanctions shall be imposed upon Plaintiff.” The deadline to produce these documents is Monday. To date, he has not provided the requested material.

Curiously, on Friday, Smith, now editor-in-chief at Semafor, reached out asking for comment. He wrote: “​​Jon — Ben Smith here, with I suspect something you may want to kick to comms: But apparently in the ongoing Mike Elk lawsuit, the Guild has demanded all correspondence between Elk and New York Times reporters including me. I was surprised News Guild would go after confidential reporter correspondence, and obviously the Times is agitated about it, though I think it’s within your legal rights. Anything you can tell me?”

We are seeking Elk’s communications as they relate to his allegations against our members, including allegations related directly to Smith’s reporting (a New York Times column that ran in Dec. 2020). Elk cannot ask for justice and also seek to deny it to those who he accuses by refusing to provide the relevant requested information. Despite Smith’s innuendo, we have not and will not serve discovery requests on The New York Times, or any reporter, for this information.

We have an obligation to vigorously defend our members in the workplace and in the courtroom and we will continue to do so. While this lawsuit has been an unfortunate distraction and has taken resources from our members, we will continue to organize thousands of workers into our union and support campaigns that increase our members’ wages, improve benefits, and safeguard a craft that has been under attack for years.

After sexual harassment allegations were raised in Pittsburgh, our members and leaders took several steps to improve our culture and fight harassment in every form in our union. Pittsburgh members immediately asked for the local president’s resignation. He resigned from office and quit his job at the Post-Gazette. We then held town halls and one-on-one listening sessions with our members and crafted a path forward intended to prevent anything like this from happening again. We approved significantly stronger anti-sexual harassment procedures and policies, including a new complaint process for sexual harassment survivors and a new training program for members and leaders. All of this has been extensively covered and communicated on our website and in numerous messages to our membership.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to me at

Photo of Jon Schleuss in front of Pittsburgh skyline

Happy Labor Day 2023!

Happy Labor Day!

Hopefully you’re off today and taking time today to reflect on the struggles we face as working people.

I’m writing to you from Pittsburgh where I’m supporting our members at the Post-Gazette, who have been on strike for the last 11 months. Workers here are holding their employer to account, demanding they follow federal labor law and provide affordable health insurance to their colleagues. This is a difficult fight, but I know we will win it.

Workers across the NewsGuild, from media, to interpreters, nonprofit workers and labor movement activists are making sure we hold the line and do whatever it takes to get the respect we deserve in the workplace.

Our members who work in the labor movement face their own threats. For example, the staff at the AFL-CIO has faced death by a thousand cuts even though the federation has raked in more dues from affiliate members. It’s time for those workers to finally get a decent wage and protections for their healthcare and retirement.

In the time since last year’s Labor Day more than 1,100 workers have unionized with us from Condé Nast, Cityside, SEIU Healthcare Michigan, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, ProPublica and many more workplaces. And we’ve gone on strike A LOT.

In 2022, 21 newsrooms went on strike for one day or longer, demanding first contracts and for their employer to follow the law. So far in 2023, 28 newsrooms have gone on strike.

Currently workers are on strike at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and TVO, the provincial public broadcaster in Ontario. TVO workers are demanding fair pay to keep up with inflation and protections from temporary work. TVO workers have a righteous fight on their hands as they hold the line alongside all Guild members.

And we’re getting solidarity from other unions, from the United Steelworkers, to SEIU, to the Teamsters and CUPE in Canada. Workers from other unions have stood on our picket lines and supported our causes.

It seems we are under attack in almost every single workplace. But we are fighting back.

And we have more power than we know.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day this year and continue to build a union of love and compassion for your colleagues and our society.

In solidarity,

Newsletter: Meet Polkarunion, TVO’s strike mascot

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On Monday, Canadian Media Guild members at TVO, the Ontario public broadcaster, spent 10 hours in bargaining pushing management on the two major sticking points: wages and protections from precarious work. They didn’t get a deal, but made progress.

Last Wednesday I flew up to Toronto to rally alongside our members and other unions calling on the Ontario government to Fund TVO “Like it matters!” I got to meet many of the 74 strikers in my trip and many have worked for TVO for years in either the journalism, education or kids departments. For folks who grew up in Ontario, many know TVO Kids as the station they grew up with.

So, you need to meet Polkarunion, the official mascot of the TVO strike.

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Unions call for accountability in Kansas newspaper raid


The Writers Guild of America, East and The NewsGuild-CWA demand the Marion County Police department be held accountable for its raid of the Marion County Record newspaper in Marion, Kansas.

The officers and officials who seized computers, phones and other data from reporters and the newspaper’s offices engaged in activities that are an affront to the constitutionally protected rights of journalists and news media workers.

Press freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy that is enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution and our unions will do everything to protect and preserve a free and independent press.