Total Eclipse of the News: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Journalists Vote to Strike During Eclipse 

For Immediate Release: April 3, 2024

Media Contacts: 

Asya Pikovsky,, 207-522-2442 (remote)

Gary Craig,, 585-233-1107 (on-the-ground)

ROCHESTER – Unionized reporters at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle have voted to strike this Saturday, April 6, ahead of the eclipse in western New York that’s set to take over media coverage in the Rochester region. 

The 24 journalists at the Gannett-owned newsroom, represented by The NewsGuild of New York, are prepared walk off the job if no contract has been reached by 11:59 pm ET on Friday in protest of the company’s bad-faith bargaining, which has denied reporters a new collective bargaining contract since their previous one expired in 2019. Their parent union, the NewsGuild-CWA, represents more than 50 Gannett bargaining units collectively covering more than 1,000 employees, including the Newspaper Guild of Rochester.

Journalists will announce their plan to strike today with a picket at the 2024 Rochester Top Workplaces Awards, which is being hosted by Gannett in Rochester. At the picket, Democrat and Chronicle reporters will call out Gannett for its abominable treatment of workers, including paying reporters poverty wages, slashing newsrooms, and putting sand in the gears of contract negotiations.

WHAT: Protest and strike announcement by Democrat and Chronicle reporters

WHERE: Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604 (group will be gathering in front of the convention center)

WHEN: April 3, 2024 – 4:00 p.m. EST

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.

If reporters don’t get a fair contract settlement offer from Gannett by the end of the day on Friday, April 5, they’re planning to walk out ahead of one of the biggest news events in years for Rochester, which stands directly in the path of the total solar eclipse expected on April 8. 

Gannett reporters across the country have taken increasingly militant action against their employer, as contract negotiations have stalled and newsrooms have continued to take a hit. At the beginning of March, journalists at the Gannett-owned Desert Sun launched an open-ended strike to protest the company’s bad-faith bargaining. A day later, reporters reached an agreement on their first contract. Last October, after months of delays from Gannett, journalists at the Gannett-owned consumer reviews site went on strike on Amazon Prime Day – and the company finally gave them bargaining dates just days later. Democrat and Chronicle journalists themselves held a town hall in January to highlight their demands, helping to bring Gannett back to the bargaining table.

The Democrat and Chronicle holds a special place in Gannett’s history. From 1928 to 1985, the D&C was Gannett’s flagship paper. Frank Gannett, the future owner of the company, got his start as a delivery boy in the late 1800s. The Newspaper Guild of Rochester is one of Gannett’s original unions, dating back to the 1930s.

“Thanks to solidarity with other Gannett union journalists, we’ve made progress on correcting huge pay inequities that were the result of decades of stagnant wages at Gannett. But after two years of bargaining, it’s time to get this contract done,” said Tracy Schumacher, the Democrat and Chronicle’s Food, Drink, and Features Reporter

“It’s sad it’s reached this point but that’s because of Gannett’s continued obstructionist approach to bargaining. Now is the time for the company to show that it truly values its journalists and this community. The Guild membership is more united than I’ve ever seen in my 34 years with the union. What happens next is all up to Gannett,” said Gary Craig, a criminal justice reporter at the Democrat and Chronicle.

“For five years, Gannett has been pulling out every stop to prevent Democrat and Chronicle journalists from getting the contract they deserve. Enough is enough. The Democrat and Chronicle doesn’t run without the hard work of its staff, and it’s time for them to be compensated fairly for the work they do,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York