Newsletter: #TotalEclipseOfTheNews

After nearly three years of bargaining for a first contract with Gannett, the award-winning journalists at the Austin American-Statesman are on strike! The Austin NewsGuild is on a four day unfair labor practice strike starting today, April 5, over the company’s failure to bargain in good faith and respond to the union’s common sense proposals. This is the 28th NewsGuild-CWA strike of 2024 so far.

Here’s how you can support:

The strikers stand ready to meet with the company to reach a fair contract.

Across the country, another Gannett unit is prepared to strike. In upstate New York, Rochester Newspaper Guild members at the Democrat & Chronicle are prepared to strike by the end of the day Friday if they don’t receive a fair contract settlement offer by Gannett. Earlier this week, Democrat & Chronicle journalists announced their intention to strike with a practice picket at the 2024 Rochester Best Workplaces Awards hosted by…(you guessed it!)…Gannett.

For the past five years, Gannett has used every trick in the union-busting playbook to prevent Democrat and 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. Gannett has also made unending cuts to the newsroom, which has gone from 86 employees in 2011 to just 21 now. The paper currently has no business reporter, no higher education reporter, no coverage of hospitals, no business listings, virtually no opinion staff, and just one K-12 education reporter for 21 school districts.

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.

On April 1, the IAPE & Dow Jones collective bargaining agreement expired (not an April Fool’s joke) After multiple contract extensions and still no agreement, workers decided to demonstrate their collective concern by taking a coordinated 15-minute coffee break last week. 

More than two hundred workers across the U.S. and Canada grabbed coffee, meeting either in person or virtually to share both coffee and information. IAPE representatives also delivered a new, comprehensive proposal to Dow Jones management, emphasizing the need for retroactive wage increases and pay hikes commensurate with company performance. The union has filed formal complaints challenging an assortment of management activity, including retaliatory disciplinary actions and violation of the “Rehire” provision of the collective agreement.

On Thursday, IAPE 1096 members sent hundreds of emails to Dow Jones management to demand a fair contract. It’s been 296 days and counting since bargaining began and in the days since, Dow Jones continues to rake in record profits off members’ work while inflation has eaten through their paychecks. Instead of agreeing to common sense proposals from the union for inflation-adjusted wage increases, the company offered abysmal raises and tried to deny retroactive pay. But unfortunately for management, the 1,400 IAPE 1096 members are united and ready for a fair contract.

Last week, 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, 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.

In response, workers took their complaints to the streets, marching with signs reading, “Give us back our jobs,” and “Don’t let the Post become a Ghost.” The march paused outside the residence of Board Member Matthew Kinley, where workers shouted for him to “do the right thing.”

These workers have been on strike for two weeks. If you’re able, please donate to their relief fund and support their strike publication, the Long Beach Watchdog.

Tax season is upon us and that’s also hitting our Pittsburgh strikers. Please join me in donating directly to their striker support fund. Strike pay and other support is taxed and several strikers are facing steep bills from the IRS. Your previous donations have also been used to support our family and make sure they can pay their bills and stay in their homes. 

Please donate to support our Pittsburgh family today. 

In solidarity,

Jon Schleuss, President NewsGuild-CWA