[Fox News] Washington Post strikers say ‘we deserve better’ as they walk off job in historic protest

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WASHINGTON, D.C.Washington Post workers who took part in the biggest labor protest at the company in nearly half a century Thursday said they’re on strike because they believe the company is “breaking the law” and acting in bad faith.

“We’re protesting what we believe is the company breaking the law and bargaining with us in bad faith over our contract and also over voluntary buyouts that were offered to Post employees about a month ago,” Katie Mettler, a reporter with the Washington Post and co-chair for news for the Washington Post Guild, told Fox News Digital as she joined over 750 of her colleagues on Thursday.

The strike came as the Guild clashes with management regarding terms for current employees, as well as terms for proposed buyouts The Post offered earlier this season as the paper implemented a 240-count job cut. The Washington Post is facing a $100 million loss by the end of 2023, according to reports.

HUNDREDS OF DISGRUNTLED WASHINGTON POST STAFFERS WALK OFF JOB IN MASSIVE LABOR PROTEST

As part of the strike, the Guild asked readers to not engage with Post journalism on in solidarity. Many stories that were published on Thursday were bylined “Washington Post Staff” instead of a reporter’s actual name. It’s unclear how much traffic at the widely read site was affected by the request.

Cat Zakrzewski, a Washington Post technology policy reporter, said she was striking “to demand fair pay for journalists.”

“We’re hoping that the Post will offer us a fair contract that will bring our annual raises up to 4% and raise the ceiling for journalists’ pay across the newsroom,” she said.

Cet Parks, executive director of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, which represents Post employees, described the negotiations as “tough.”

“We’ve been bargaining for 18 months. It’s been a tough negotiation,” he said. “The members and the employees at this time are trying to send the Post a message, trying to wrap the contract up and keep up with inflation and be fair to them.”

Dan Gabor, president of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, added that he was at the strike because the employer is “breaking the law.”

Dan Keating, a reporter who’s been with the Post since 1999, said he was simply on the picket line for a “good contract and good pay.”

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“I’m striking because 18 months is too long for a contract. Our salary floor does not pay a living wage in D.C. and we deserve better,” Colleen Neely, a copy editor at the Post, told Fox News Digital. “Especially being owned by one of the richest men in the world.”

The Post is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos. Several of the strikers agreed that while Bezos helped “revitalize” the company and make the paper profitable again, he needs to take some “accountability.” 

The Amazon founder bought the Post in 2013 for $250 million. The Bloomberg billionaires index places his net worth at around $169 billion; $100 million, the amount his paper could lose this year, is roughly 0.06 percent of that total.

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“We want to get a contract, we don’t want layoffs, we want a better buyout deal,” Neely explained.

The Post reported that its own executives “deny the union’s claim that it has bargained in ‘bad faith’ and say they still hope to reach a contract by the end of the month.” The Washington Post said it hopes to reach an agreement that works for everyone. 

“We respect the rights of our Guild-covered colleagues to engage in this planned one-day strike. We will make sure our readers and customers are as unaffected as possible. The Post’s goal remains the same as it has from the start of our negotiations: to reach an agreement with the Guild that meets the needs of our employees and the needs of our business,” a Post spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital. 

A Washington Post spokesperson provided Fox News Digital with a statement on Thursday, which read, “We respect the rights of our Guild-covered colleagues to engage in this planned one-day strike. We will make sure our readers and customers are as unaffected as possible. The Post’s goal remains the same as it has from the start of our negotiations: to reach an agreement with the Guild that meets the needs of our employees and the needs of our business.”

A Washington Post insider who participated in the strike told Fox News Digital earlier this week that the Post had a “very frustrated workforce” on its hands.

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

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.

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