Newsletter: 24 strikes in two weeks? Yep!

Subscribe to our newsletter

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.”

Last year 36 Guild newsrooms walked out in protest of corporate greed and illegal behavior by newsroom bosses. 

In the last two weeks, 24 newsrooms have walked out. 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Los Angeles Times
Architectural Digest
Bon Appétit
Condé Nast Traveler
Teen Vogue
Vanity Fair
San Antonio Report
New York Daily News
Chicago Tribune
Orlando Sentinel
Morning Call
Suburban Chicago Tribune
Design and Production Studios
Tribune Content Agency

These journalists are walking out for their communities, who depend on quality local journalism. 

“The company would rather give us a handful of meager bonuses and cut our 401(k) match without any thought for how that would affect us,” said Graysen Golter, a general news reporter at the Morning Call. “They tell us that if we don’t like our wages, we should get another job, leaving our readers vulnerable and without coverage.”

The Tribune journalists set up a GoFundMe to support their lowest-paid colleagues. Join me in donating to these hardworking folks. 

I salute every journalist in North America standing up and demanding better. Corporate greed has gotten out of control. 

More than 500 journalists were laid off from news outlets last month, a high not seen since last year, according to a report by POLITICO. 2020 was a high point for journalism layoffs in the U.S., but the layoffs hitting the L.A. Times, NBC News, Condé Nast (illegal there), Sports Illustrated (illegal there too), Business Insider, Time magazine and more. It’s devastating and it’s mostly driven by corporate greed. 

Take Business Insider. Parent Axel Springer paid more than $837 million in dividends to investors over the last four years. The layoffs don’t need to happen. 

The Los Angeles Times. The owner is a billionaire. Yes, he’s lost money. But why not trim from the business management side? Most of those “leaders” are from the Tronc era. Why not finally appoint a publisher to run the paper? Why not, provide a business plan? 

Media Guild of the West President Matt Pearce interviewed with Editor & Publisher’s Mike Blinder in an interview looking inside the L.A. Times. “We went on strike and we think that strike saved dozens of jobs,” Pearce tells Blinder. Be sure to give it a watch to learn more.

The Times cuts hit many of the most diverse journalists in the newsroom and gutted many departments including the Washington, D.C. bureau. It’s devastating.

And yesterday the Wall Street Journal said it was cutting nearly 20 positions in its D.C. bureau. 


News bosses are not only hurting their reputations, being cruel to hard working journalists, but they’re setting up American democracy for failure. Who is going to cover all the important stories about politicians at the local and federal level? Who’s going to uncover corruption? 

This dangerous trend has to stop. 

Last week I wrote to U.S. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, demanding he include a bipartisan tax credit for local journalism jobs in the current negotiations for funding the government and that he immediately start hearings about the demise of American journalism and its impact on democracy. We are running out of time.

Our Pittsburgh strikers need your recipes! Do you have a dessert recipe for a cookbook they’re putting together? Submit it here. Our strikers just did phenomenal reporting one year after the environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio in the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Support their good work by sending them a recipe (and a donation won’t hurt either!) You’ve got two days before their deadline hits. Yep, I’m behind on submitting my pie recipes! I’ve got a homemade crust and several pie recipes that I’ve made for our striker bake sales I plan to submit this weekend. 

Journalists at The Markup just ratified their first contract. The workers at the nonprofit newsroom locked in a $65,000 salary floor, 3.5% annual raises for the lowest paid employees and saved their 401(k) match. AND, they won a six month fully-paid parental leave benefit. 

“We pushed really hard for a fair contract and safe benefits and we’re extremely excited to have it,” said Malena Carollo, an investigative reporter at The Markup.

Indy Star journalists also won a contract, a successor in their long-union history. The agreement invests $200,000 in giving members long-deserved raises and updating the woefully outdated wage scales. They fought back Gannett’s attempt to replace journalists with artificial intelligence. 

“We did what we set out to do every day, as a union: We demanded autonomy and a say in our work lives. We demanded more and remained loud about it. We did not back down until we got there.”

POLITICO and E&E News staffers also inked a first contract, locking in some serious pay minimums. Reporters will have a salary floor of $75,000 and $63,000 for producers with pay bumps when employees hit 5, 7 and 10-year milestones. 

“We formed this union because our colleagues were overworked, underpaid and lacked basic protections,” said Unit Chair Tanya Snyder, a transportation reporter for POLITICO Pro. “This contract will benefit our journalists and lead to a healthier, stronger newsroom.”

Congrats to everyone who won a recent contract!!!!

Last week Condé Nast workers led a charge in a week of strikes, with members going out at 11 publications. News boss Roger Lynch has broken the law and is trying to lay off workers during status quo as they negotiate a first contract. (Good primer on that here.

“The last nearly three months of fighting for our co-workers on the company’s layoff list has led us to today,” said Ben Dewey, a CNE videographer and vice chair of the CNE unit of Condé Nast Union. “Our 24-hour walkout is about standing firmly behind our colleagues and showing Condé Nast management in the clearest possible way that we will not tolerate their disrespect at the bargaining table over these layoffs. It is time to start bargaining in good faith with us.”

It is never acceptable to cross a picket line and Anne Hathaway stood with our members. We alerted SAG-AFTRA to our strike and SAG’s reps got a hold of Hathaway. She was having her hair and makeup done for a photo shoot at Vanity Fair when she found out. As soon as she heard, she stood up and walked out in solidarity. Thank you, Anne Hathaway!

New York Daily News staffers walked out last week, in advance of the other Tribune newsrooms walking out yesterday. It was the first strike at the publication since 1991. 

“Alden wants to act as if we are not being chiseled,” said union steward Michael Gartland, an award-winning reporter who’s covered three NYC mayors. “We’re not going to engage in that intellectual dishonesty. In reality, we’re being crushed for cash. As a result, staff is diminished, which means our ability to cover the city is diminished. We believe this is bad for New York.”

Forbes staffers walked out the same day, but struck two days longer. It was their first walkout and the first known work-stoppage in the magazine’s 106-year history. 

“We formed this union to protect the standards of a professional newsroom and create a more inclusive and transparent workplace, as well as for job security, equity in pay and opportunity, and accountability,” said Andrea Murphy, unit chair and statistics editor for Forbes.  “Management’s only interest is to delay, stall and obstruct, as well as try to block our members from protected union action. We are taking this unprecedented step to show that we will not allow such disrespectful behavior towards our negotiations to continue.”

San Antonio Report workers walked off the job before officially even being a union. Seriously. They announced their union campaign on January 16. Everyone signed a union card. Everyone signed the mission statement. The boss didn’t voluntarily recognize them or provide much of a response. A week later on January 24 the boss fired one of their beloved colleagues. And everyone walked out.

“We see this as an unfair labor practice and walked off the job in solidarity with our member,” said Isaac Windes, an education reporter at the San Antonio Report. 

“This will change working conditions across the board — we’re a small organization,” he said. “Taking out a member like that will change all of our jobs.”

They filed an unfair labor practice, they filed an information request and a demand to bargain. They acted like a union. Which is the goal. Union is a verb.

Texas Tribune workers went public with a wall-to-wall union the same day as the San Antonio walkout. 90% of the workers signed a union card at the nonprofit newsroom. 

Reese Oxner, a product manager for the Tribune, said he wants the Tribune to have a union because he hopes that it can be a place where “folks can build long careers and serve the people of Texas with the very best journalism we can produce.”

“Unions help journalists. We’ve seen examples of that all over the country, especially here in Texas.  I’m supporting the Texas Tribune Guild because I want to ensure this organization continues to be an excellent place to work,” he said. “The Texas Tribune emerged as a leader when it was founded in 2009. I hope the organization can continue to demonstrate its leadership by voluntarily recognizing our union.”

I joined the workers in Austin to celebrate with them and support their fight to have a seat at the table. Every worker should have a voice in their workplace. 

Are you a Guild member and want to know more about striking? We’ve got two workshops coming up this month. On Feb. 6, we’ll cover strike logistics. On Feb. 20 we’ll have a workshop on getting everyone involved.

Be safe and take care of each other, fam!