Photo by Andy Abeyta

Palm Springs Desert Sun journalists walk out two years after unionizing

On Friday, Feb. 17, members of The Desert Sun NewsGuild in Palm Springs, California, participated in a one-day walkout. The walkout was held on the two-year anniversary of the formation of the union. It was the guild’s second walkout in just over three months as The Desert Sun NewsGuild previously participated in a walkout on Nov. 4.

The decision to walk off for a second time was a difficult one, but members decided it was necessary after only limited progress was made toward a contract in the two years since The Desert Sun NewsGuild was formed.

In particular, there has been virtually no progress toward some of the guild’s most significant goals, which include a $60,000 salary floor, securing fairer and more equitable scheduling practices and guaranteeing the ability for employees to freely pursue freelance writing work that does not interfere with the work they do at The Desert Sun. The Desert Sun’s owner, Gannett, has also refused to agree that all Desert Sun staffers either join the guild or pay dues to support it going forward.

All 14 NewsGuild members who were scheduled to work on Feb. 17 participated in the walkout. The guild also held a rally and march Friday morning in downtown Palm Springs, during which it called for Gannett to move quickly toward a contract that will ensure The Desert Sun’s hardworking employees are treated with the dignity and respect that has for too long been denied to them, and guarantee the future of high-quality local news in the Coachella Valley.

Several members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 440 Riverside County attended the rally and march and joined the NewsGuild’s call for a fair contract. The TDS NewsGuild was extremely thankful for their support.

On Thursday, supporters launched a GoFundMe to raise money for its members that would be losing out on a second day of pay to participate in the walkout. As of Monday morning, $2,102 had been collected. The Desert Sun NewsGuild is extremely thankful to those who have contributed to the fund, which remains open for donations.

Please follow The TDS NewsGuild on Twitter @TDSNewsGuild to stay up to date on our efforts. TDS NewsGuild members are hopeful that the company will act quickly to reach a fair contract.