Chicago Tribune journalists will hold a one-day strike Thursday after its union says the newspaper’s parent company has “slow-walked” and offered “non-starter” proposals during contract negotiations.
The walkout is set to be the largest coordinated action journalists at the company have taken against Alden Global Capital since Tribune Publishing was purchased in 2021, the union says.
The acquisition saddled Tribune Publishing with $278 million in debt, the union says, and since then, the Chicago Tribune staff has been cut from 111 to 76.
Journalists at the Chicago Tribune are among more than 200 reporters, designers, and production workers at seven newsrooms across the country owned by Tribune Publishing who will be participating in the one-day walkout.
The NewsGuild-CWA is the labor union representing the Tribune Publishing journalists participating in the planned walkout. Chicago Tribune journalists voted to unionize and form the Chicago Tribune Guild in 2018.
Most Tribune workers have not seen a pay raise since 2018, the union says.
“We didn’t go into this job for the money, but Alden’s cuts have hit so close to the bone that we can’t even do our jobs as journalists anymore,” said Madeline Buckley, criminal courts reporter at the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Tribune Guild unit chair, in a news release. “Enough is enough.”
The union is specifically pushing back on a proposal that would give the company the ability to eliminate the company’s 401k match and a refusal to provide across-the-board pay increases.
The company has also failed to remedy long-standing wage inequities on race and gender lines, the union says. A Chicago Tribune Guild study from 2023 showed that journalists of color at the Tribune make a median wage that’s $10,000 less than their white counterparts, while women typically make $20,000 less than their male counterparts when examining median salaries.
In December, Chicago Tribune journalists and workers from the company’s design unit, syndicate and suburban properties held a protest of Alden’s management at Tribune Tower.
Representatives for Alden did not immediately return a request for comment.