WaPo Journalists Plan Strike

Journalists at the Washington Post planned to conduct a walk-off from work on Thursday, walking away from their jobs for 24 hours.

In a letter that the Washington Post Newspaper Guild – the union that represents the journalists – wrote to readers of the newspaper on Tuesday, it said all members will be participating in this strike since management refuses “to bargain in good faith.” Management also walked out of negotiations, the union said.

According to the union, management “shut down” the negotiations that were discussing important issues to the workers such as policies for remote work, resources for mental health, pay raises and pay equity.

The Guild wrote that going on strike “is not a decision we came to lightly.” It wrote that it understands the “impact it will have on the people, issues and communities we cover.”
That being said, the union was quick to point out that layoffs that happened recently at The Post as well as proposed buyouts were two further reasons why the strike was taking place.
As the letter reads:

“Our work has won international acclaim and coveted awards and made The Post lucrative again. Then our former publisher’s bad business decisions squandered our profits.

“Instead of executives bearing the weight of this mismanagement, The Post repeatedly made workers pay the price. In the last year, the company has laid off nearly 40 people. If buyouts don’t net another 240 cuts, Post leaders warned more layoffs will come.”

The strike is happening at a tenuous time at The Post, as it will be getting a new publisher and CEO in January. Those roles are set to be filled by William Lewis, who once served as the CEO of Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this year, Fred Ryan stepped down as publisher of The Post.

The union has said that they’ve focused the contract negotiations on securing strong job protections for workers, making sure they are able to earn a livable wage as well as giving them retirement benefits that they deserve.

As the letter reads:

“The Post cannot stay competitive, retain the best talent or produce the kind of elite journalism you rely on without giving its staff a fair deal.”

In addition to explaining the reasoning behind the strike, the Guild asked readers not to engage with content that The Post publishes or has published during the strike.

Sarah Kaplan, who serves as the Guild’s chief steward and member of the bargaining committee, said 750 employees pledged to participate in Thursday’s strike. Hundreds of others are also planning to attend a rally on that day as well.

According to Kaplan, The Post hasn’t backed down off its “last, best and final” offer that it extended last month to the Guild. She said that offer “does not include wages increases that keep up with the economy or our competitors, fails to guarantee critical mental health benefits, and does not engage with a host of other open issues that are important to Post Guild members.”