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HomeGeneralWashington Post Employees Walk Off Job in Massive Labor Protest

Washington Post Employees Walk Off Job in Massive Labor Protest

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A picture of Washington Post staffers walking off their jobs
Source: Pinterest

Over 700 disgruntled Washington Post staffers are walking off the job in a historic 24-hour work stoppage. The Post owner, Jeff Bezos, noted that it is the company’s “biggest labor protest in almost half a century.” The 24-hour walkout started after contract negotiations with the newspaper’s leadership stalled after 18 months.

According to reports, the Washington Post Guild clashed with management regarding terms for current employees. Also, they disagreed on the terms for proposed buyouts The Post offered as the paper implemented a 240-count job cut. This walkoff came after sources suggested the Washington Post faced a whopping $100 million loss by the end of 2023.

Consequently, reporters, producers, editors, and business-side staffers left the job and began picketing outside the Post’s enigmatic downtown headquarters. According to reports, it was the first protest action at the paper since the mid-1970s.

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The Washington Post Guild, a broader Washington-Baltimore News Guild member, accused management of negotiating in “bad faith.” The Guild seeks a contract that addresses pay disparities and offers employees raises and job protections. According to them, layoffs loom at the struggling storied paper.

“Union members said they are walking out to protest a stalemate in bargaining with the company that has left workers without a contract for 18 months,” The Post reported. They also object to the company’s recent offer of cost-saving buyouts to staffers, saying that the terms are stingy and that a threat of layoffs is coercing the ostensibly voluntary packages.

Similarly, the union posted a statement online, blaming previous leadership at the Post for the company’s current financial woes. “We still lack a contract that keeps pace with record-level inflation and guarantees workers a living wage,” the union posted.

Post Guild steward and climate reporter Sarah Kaplan shared a video of the striking workers on social media. “This is a declaration by hundreds of Washington Post staffers saying that if the company is to work with us fairly, it has to respect its employees,” Kaplan said. “I know they’ll still try to get a paper out, but they can’t get a good one without us.”

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“We respect the rights of our Guild-covered colleagues to engage in this one-day strike,” a spokesperson for the Post said. “We will ensure our readers and customers are as unaffected as possible.”

He added that the Post’s goal remains the same as it had been from the start of the negotiations. In addition, he said they plan to reach an agreement with the Guild “that meets the needs of our employees.” 

However, the Post reported that its executives “deny the union’s claim that it has bargained in ‘bad faith.'” Also, they still hope to reach a contract by the end of the month.

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The 24-hour walkoff was not the first strike at a major news outlet in the past year. Staffers at Insider staged a 13-day walkout, the longest in the history of digital media, in June 2023. Similarly, employees at the New York Times have also gone on strike twice in the last year.

However, a Post insider revealed that the Post staffers’ 24-hour walk-off “reflects deep frustration” on minimum salaries. He added that it also shows the company’s unwillingness to negotiate further. Also, he said the company holding meetings to answer questions is “pretty high-handed and arrogant.”

“The question is, what options are left?” the insider wondered. “You have a frustrated workforce, with a lot of uncertainty and some… turmoil bubbling beneath and above the surface.”

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