How To Support Striking Journalists During the #TotalEclipseOfTheNews

Ahead of the solar eclipse on April 8, two Gannett newsrooms — the Austin American-Statesman and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle — are on strike, withholding their labor on a historic news day to draw attention to the company’s failure to bargain in good faith and respond to the union’s common sense proposals.

Both Rochester and Austin are in the solar eclipse path of totality, and with the news that Gannett dropped the Associated Press, Austin American-Statesman and Democrat & Chronicle readers will find little-to-no local coverage of the eclipse on their website, underscoring the need for strong local journalism and exposing Gannett’s bad faith bargaining.

These strikes represent the 27th and 28th strikes from NewsGuild-CWA members of 2024 so far.

Here’s how you can support striking journalists fighting for strong contracts and the future of their industry:

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

On April 6, after Gannet failed to reach an agreement with the union by April 5, Democrat & Chronicle journalists embarked on a ULP strike. For the past five years, Gannett has used every trick in the union-busting playbook to prevent Democrat & Chronicle reporters from winning a fair contract, including unlawful unilateral changes and slow-walking negotiations. On March 11, The NewsGuild of New York filed a bad-faith bargaining ULP charge, following several recent charges over numerous Gannett violations.

How to support:

Austin NewsGuild

After nearly three years of bargaining for a first contract with Gannett, the award-winning journalists at the Austin American-Statesman are starting a four day unfair labor practice strike over the company’s bad faith bargaining and refusal to provide the union with a serious proposal that provides livable wages and a benefits package that won’t amount to a pay cut.

Statesman journalists work tirelessly to cover their community, but their pay is not keeping up with Austin’s rising cost of living. In the three years that the Austin NewsGuild has been fighting for a fair contract, more than half of the newsroom staffers have left for better paying jobs. Some journalists haven’t seen a raise since 2017. Meanwhile, Gannett CEO Mike Reed saw his own pay increase 14% last year to $3.9M.

How to support:

In addition to the Gannett newsrooms on strike during the eclipse, other NewsGuild members remain on strike in Long Beach, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Long Beach Media Guild

In early April, members of the Long Beach Media Guild protested and filed Unlawful Labor Practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging retaliatory firings of two workers for lawful union organizing activities. 

After announcing their campaign to organize a union at the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Post Business Journal nearly a month ago, CEO Melissa Evans announced the company had already planned a number of layoffs. Of the planned layoffs, two of the nine workers had not originally been included. Those two last-minute additions were also union organizers. Members of the Long Beach Media Guild proposed taking pay cuts in order to retain staff, but Evans continued with the layoffs, cutting nine of its fourteen staff positions.

How to support:

  • Do not cross the click-it line.
  • Donate to the relief fund for striking workers and those impacted by illegal and retaliatory layoffs.
  • Subscribe to their strike publication, the Long Beach Watchdog.

Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh

On Oct. 18, 2022 Guild members at the Post-Gazette authorized an unfair labor practice strike. Post-Gazette workers have not had a pay raise in over 15 years and went on strike over the illegal, unilateral cuts to their healthcare made by the Block family — the Toledo-based, millionaire owners of the paper.

Here’s how you can support the striking workers and their families: