Next week, journalists for the nation’s largest newspaper chain will go on strike in a series of demonstrations against the chief executive of the business.
Aim is to draw attention to budget cuts
Numerous employees from 24 Gannett publications, including the Arizona Republic, Austin American-Statesman, and Palm Beach Post, have announced that they will not be reporting to work for one or two days starting on Monday. They will forfeit pay and miss assignments like covering city council meetings and high school sporting events. The strikes at several publications start on Tuesday.
They claim that their goal is to draw attention to budget cuts and apply pressure to shareholders, who are anticipated to discuss CEO pay at a meeting on Monday. The company’s financial difficulties are attributed to CEO Mike Reed, who is the target of a vote of no confidence by protesting journalists. The NewsGuild, the union that represents more than 50 Gannett newsrooms, claims in a financial statement that Reed “failed shareholders,” claiming that other newspaper firms are doing better. According to NewsGuild president Jon Schleuss, “[Journalists] need support and resources to make sure our communities have the local news needed to keep our democracy thriving.”
Investing in local newsrooms
In response to the hard economic environment, Gannett stated in a company statement that “our leadership is focused on investing in local newsrooms and monetizing our content”. “While we continue to bargain in good faith to finalize contracts that provide equitable wages and benefits for our valued employees, our goal is to preserve journalism and serve our communities across the country.” The Gannett walkout, which is predicted to be the biggest in the history of the newspaper company, will be the most recent such labor unrest to affect American newsrooms in recent months.
In one of the most dramatic labor disputes at the corporation in decades in December, more than 1,000 New York Times employees took a day off work. And on Friday, Insider employees announced that if their requests for healthcare coverage and contract negotiations are not granted, they will embark on an indefinite strike. Following a smaller demonstration in November, journalists at 14 of the company’s newsrooms walked out in opposition to layoffs and demanded higher pay.