The building of the Washington Post newspaper headquarters is seen on K Street in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 2019. (Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

The building of the Washington Post newspaper headquarters is seen on K Street in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 2019.

(Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

Washington Post Workers Plan Strike to Pressure Bezos on Contract

"We're worth more than what they're offering," said the Washington Post News Guild.

More than 700 unionized staffers of The Washington Post made a request of readers on Wednesday: For 24 hours starting on Thursday, December 7, they said, "please do not engage with any Washington Post content"—including reading the venerated newspaper's print and online editions, listening to podcasts, watching videos, or filling out the crossword puzzle.

The journalists and staff members are staging a one-day work stoppage to protest extensive staffing cuts in the newsroom over the past year and management's refusal to "bargain in good faith" and offer a fair contract to members of the Washington Post News Guild.

"For 18 months, members of our union, the Post Guild, have sought to negotiate a fairer contract for us all," wrote the union to readers. "But management has refused to bargain in good faith and repeatedly—and illegally—shut down negotiations over key issues, such as pay equity, raises that keep pace with inflation and our competitors, remote work policies, mental health supports, and a buyout package that seeks to reduce our workforce by 10%."

"That's why, on December 7, Washington Post workers are going on strike for 24 hours," the workers said.

On social media, the union detailed its demands and contrasted them with management's offers in the most recent negotiations.

The Post Guild asked for raises of 4% annually for three years to help staffers support themselves and their families amid inflation and the rising cost of living; management offered just 2.25% in the first year and 2% in the second and third year of the contract.

The newspaper—owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, currently the third-richest person in the world with a net worth of $167.8 billion—also said it would provide "no mental health[care] guarantees" and that it has "absolute power to demand full-time return to the office at any time." The union had called for a continuation of the current hybrid working arrangement with staffers permitted to work from anywhere for four weeks out of the year.

"We're worth more than what they're offering," said the Post Guild.

The union has also voiced objections to repeated staffing cuts at the Post this year. The company has laid off nearly 40 people in 2023, said the Post Guild, as well as offering "voluntary" buyouts to 240 employees.

"Nowthe Post has threatened that if they don't get enough people to leave, more layoffs will be next," said the union in another message to readers in which members asked the public to write to the newspaper management and tell executives they support "its workers in our fight to keep our jobs and earn a living wage."

The Post currently aims to shrink its workforce by about 10%, with about 940 journalists in the newsroom.

"That means fewer Post employees making the critical journalism that keeps our communities informed and holds our public officials accountable. Democracy Dies in Darkness, right?" said the unionized workers, quoting the company's slogan that was adopted in 2017.

In a video posted on social media, some of the Guild's 700 dues-paying members—who work in editorial, advertising, and non-newsroom departments—shared how they are continuously covering a tumultuous time in U.S. history, from the January 6 insurrection, to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the climate crisis.

"I'm worth a fair and transparent pay process," said publicist Kathleen Floyd.

"I'm worth job protections that value my years of service," added health and medicine reporter Lenny Bernstein.

Nearly 750 Post workers are expected to join the walkout on Thursday, Reutersreported.

"Taking this historic action is not a decision we came to lightly. We take seriously the impact it will have on the people, issues and communities we cover," said the Guild in its letter to readers. "ThePost cannot stay competitive, retain the best talent, or produce the kind of elite journalism you rely on without giving its staff a fair deal."

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