Washington Post Reaches Tentative Agreement With Reporters’ Union (1)

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By Hassan A. Kanu and Jaclyn Diaz

Newsroom and commercial-side workers at the Washington Post reached a tentative agreement for a two-year contract with the newspaper’s management.

The Washington Post Guild was able to bargain for a $15 per week pay increase for most employees this year and the next, according to a bulletin the union circulated for members and obtained by Bloomberg Law. Employee spouses who both work at the Post would each be eligible for four weeks of paid parental leave under the pact.

The union said it was ultimately unable to change management’s position on issues like a 1 percent 401(K) match and a clause that requires employees to waive their right to bring a legal claim against the Post in exchange for severance pay if they’re terminated.

The tentative agreement was reached June 25, following roughly 14 months of negotiations. The Guild’s bargaining committee said in the bulletin that they were disappointed in the final product, but still urged employees to ratify it by July 14; otherwise the Post could withdraw its offer.

“There is little to celebrate,” union leadership wrote in the bulletin. They added that the Post under billionaire owner Jeff Bezos has taken a more aggressive posture in negotiations than at any time in recent memory.

A representative for the Washington Post said the company didn’t have a comment on the contract.

The Post had offered $8 per week or a $600 lump sum salary increase. The newspaper previously required that one parent use all of the four weeks of parental leave it provided, or that both parents split the time.

Compromise on Pay Gap Issue?

Post workers will also have the right to request a salary review if they suspect their pay is less than a comparable colleague, “perhaps because of discrimination,” the union wrote.

The Guild had been pushing for a comprehensive analysis of any possible pay gaps at the newspaper, but management refused their requests on that end, according to the union.

The issue was of special concern during contract negotiations, when reporters and other staff became frustrated with what they said was a hardline stance over the paper’s alleged gender and race-based pay gap.

The Post Guild represents both commercial and editorial employees, which is about 52 percent of the newsroom. The union is an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, which also represents workers at Bloomberg Law.

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