Eight Tribune Units Ratify Historic First Contract

After five long years of negotiations between Alden Global Capital and a joint bargaining committee, journalists at eight Tribune publications voted overwhelmingly to ratify a historic first contract.

Newsrooms covered by the contract include: Orlando Sentinel, Tidewater (The Virginian-Pilot, Daily Press, The Virginia Gazette, and Tidewater Review), Morning Call, Suburban Chicago Tribune (The Beacon-News, The Courier-News, The Naperville Sun, and The Daily Southtown), Design and Production Studios, Hartford Courant, and Tribune Content Agency.

The joint bargaining committee, with involvement from 62 NewsGuild members over five years, secured a two-year contract that guarantees raises, protects the 401k match, increases job security, and much more.

Highlights of the contract include:

Increased Job Security & Protection

  • Just cause provisions preventing arbitrary discipline and termination
  • Grievance and arbitration process formalizing a dispute resolution process with a 3rd party neutral arbitrator as the final decision maker
  • Notice requirements and seniority provisions for layoffs, plus recall rights
  • Social media protections and byline/credit line rights
  • Rights to a safe and sanitary workplace including prompt investigations and remedies and the right to refuse a hazardous assignment
  • Time off in response to a traumatic event including a reduction in responsibilities and/or up to 5 paid days off
  • The right to organize and bargain collectively!

Improved Wages and Benefits

  • 6%+ across-the-board raises over the life of the contract (3% raise upon year one, plus an additional 3% in year 2)
  • Maintenance of existing employer 401K matches for all employees currently participating (Currently the Joint Tribune Guilds are the only bargaining team facing off against Alden that kept the match!)
  • Union sponsored health insurance with more affordable and superior PPO plans continuing through our contract
  • New holiday pay for part-timers
  • Additional bereavement day and expanded definition of family
  • Carryover of one week of vacation to the following year
  • Guaranteed severance pay if a reduction in force were to occur

This contract is the result of continued advocacy from NewsGuild members, many of whom participated in a historic 24-hour strike earlier this year. That strike was the largest coordinated action Tribune journalists have taken against Alden Global Capital since the hedge fund purchased Tribune Publishing in 2021.

“We finally did it: Orlando Sentinel workers have secured a union contract for the first time in the newspaper’s 148-year history, establishing two years of raises, protecting our retirement plans and overall setting the foundation to build a stronger newsroom,” said Cristóbal Reyes, a member of the Orlando Sentinel Guild and joint bargaining committee. “This could not have happened without the passion and resilience of our members and our commitment to standing with our comrades at sister guilds throughout the Tribune chain from the bargaining table to the picket line, as we staged a historic one-day walkout. Four long years battling with ‘the Darth Vader of the newspaper industry’ have brought us to this moment, and we have no intention of slowing down. Soon it will be on to the next battle, but we fully intend to bask in the history we are building together.”

“We’ve won better wages for ourselves, better benefits, better working conditions,” said Tim Schnupp, a member of the Tribune Content Agency and joint bargaining committee. “But more importantly, we’ve won a better future for ourselves, our families and the communities we serve. […] We look forward to continuing our work with our colleagues elsewhere under the thumb of Alden Global Capital ownership. The Chicago Tribune still needs a fair contract. The New York Daily News still needs a fair contract. The Southern California News Group still needs a fair contract. And we intend to do all we can to make sure these contracts are won. We certainly have a great deal of hard-won knowledge to share.”
“Helping organize our union in 2018 gave me agency I have never felt in my career,” said Wendy Fox Weber, unit chair and member bargainer, Suburban Chicago Tribune Guild. “Six years later, we finally have a contract with Alden Global Capital. The company fought us every step of the way, and everything in that contract is thanks to the work of a dedicated group of member bargainers. I am honored to have helped bring it to ratification.”