Journalists at 4 Washington state publications reach tentative agreement on a first contract

The bargaining committee of the Washington State NewsGuild reached a tentative agreement with management on a first contract on May 26. The agreement will cover journalists at four McClatchy-owned publications: the Bellingham Herald, Tri-City Herald, Tacoma News Tribune and Olympian.

The agreement follows about a year of bargaining. “Our members never stopped fighting to protect local news and for what they deserve,” members of the unit tweeted the day after the agreement was reached.

Highlights of the deal include:

  • Minimum salaries of $48K for current journalists
  • An end to two-tiered salary floors at the papers
  • Guaranteed raises in the second and third years of the agreement
  • Protections against outsourcing
  • Return to a 40-hour work week, which will result a large restoration of pay for union members

“We just want to say thank you to all of the community members and readers who have supported us and our fight for a fair contract, especially within this past week. We could not have done this without your help,” they said.

“We also want to say thank you to our fellow union colleagues across the company for all of their hard work, support and guidance, as we push toward better, more equitable and sustainable working conditions.”

The workers won recognition of the Washington State NewsGuild about 15 months ago. They organized to ensure that journalists of the four publications could continue to report on and serve their local communities. They are part of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild Local 37082.