Members of the Newspaper Guild of Detroit picketed the Michiganians of the Year Awards on Thursday to press their demand for a fair contract. The protest was part of a campaign to win community support for workers at the Detroit Free Press, the Observer & Eccentric and the Detroit News, which sponsored the awards event. They’ve been bargaining since February.
When workers proposed modest across-the-board raises, Gannett, which owns the publications, said they would only give newsroom-wide increases if journalists made concessions on health insurance and the retirement program. “They want us to pay for our own wage increases with concessions,” union members concluded.
Guild members have been building support. Last month, they passed out flyers outside a documentary film festival produced by the Free Press. They have launched two petitions – one for the community, which has gotten almost 400 signatures, and another for workers, which has been signed by about 80% of the workforce. And every week, union members observe #FairContractFriday by wearing Guild T-shirts and buttons and posting messages about their demands.
They’re determined to win a fair contract!