The Washington Post reached an agreement Friday for a new collective bargaining agreement with the union representing the majority of its editorial employees, ending 18 months of bellicose negotiations that included a one-day work stoppage.
The tentative agreement, if ratified, would give all union-represented employees an immediate raise of $30 per week, with an additional 2.5 percent increase in April and increases in future years , said the Washington Post Guild.
“Our goal has always been to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and our business,” the Washington Post said in a statement. “We are confident this contract delivers both and appreciate the efforts of everyone who worked to make this happen.” »
In an email to its members, the Guild said the new contract was a “victory” and that the union had brought the company back to the table through “tireless organizing.”
“After 18 months of negotiations – months in which Guild members gave moving testimonies at the bargaining table, signed petitions, walked picket lines, lunched for fair pay and achieved the greatest work stoppage at the Washington Post for nearly 50 years – the company has finally agreed to a settlement,” the statement said.
The union deal was reached days before Will Lewis, a British-born news executive, took over as chief executive of the Post. He will replace Patty Stonesifer, a longtime business adviser to Post owner Jeff Bezos who ran the company while Mr. Bezos searched for a permanent business leader.
Friday’s deal is a welcome development in the Post newsroom, where reporters have seen a series of farewell emails from colleagues announcing they were accepting the company’s buyout offer. In October, Ms. Stonesifer announced that the company would cut 240 jobs, part of an effort to contain costs as losses of $100 million piled up for the year.
Among the journalists who said they wanted to make a buyout were Jeff Leenthe paper’s much-admired investigative editor, who led projects including a Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the National Security Agency’s collection of invasive data.
In the final days of negotiations, relations between the Washington Post Guild and the company became strained. This month, employees staged a day-long work stoppage and encouraged readers to refrain from sharing the company’s articles online for the day and not cross “the digital picket line “.
Guild members “busy” the Post’s morning briefing Wednesday, repeatedly posting, “Is this all you think we’re worth? in the online meeting chat.
This week, Ms. Stonesifer sent an email informing employees that the company would withdraw a $500 ratification bonus if the two sides did not reach an agreement before the end of the year.
Members of the Washington Post Guild will hold a vote to ratify the contract next week in meetings held over Zoom, according to a memo sent to employees Friday.