Washington Post Workers Stage 1-Day Strike Amid Looming Layoffs, Stalled Contract Talks

The company said in October that it planned to cut about 10% of its staff, months after a report that the paper was set to lose $100 million this year.

Workers at The Washington Post launched a 24-hour walkout Thursday, marking the paper’s first work stoppage since 1975.

Seven hundred members of The Washington Post Guild initiated the daylong strike in protest of potential layoffs and what they described as management’s refusal to negotiate a contract in good faith.

The union, which represents 1,000 Post journalists and members of the non-news staff, has been in contract talks with the newspaper for 18 months.

The guild is asking that readers not engage with any Post content in print or online for the day.

A spokesperson for the Post told multiple media outlets that the company respects workers’ right to take action, adding, “We will make sure our readers and customers are as unaffected as possible.”

The Jeff Bezos-owned company announced in October that it planned to cut 240 jobs from its 2,600 person staff.

Employees of The Washington Post picket outside the company's offices on Thursday, Dec. 7.
Employees of The Washington Post picket outside the company's offices on Thursday, Dec. 7.
via Associated Press

Though the company said the roughly 10% staff reduction was intended to come from voluntary buyouts, last month Post interim CEO Patty Stonesifer said layoffs might be required to meet that number.

The paper had previously laid off 20 staffers and shuttered its Sunday magazine in January.

In a statement about the strike, the Post’s union said that taking its “historic action is not a decision we came to lightly.”

Sarah Kaplan, a climate reporter and chief steward of the guild, told The New York Times, “What is driving a lot of us to participate in this is a feeling that we want to have a say in the future of The Washington Post because we care about this place, and we think it can be better.”

The newspaper is looking to slim down its workforce amid a trend of decreased advertising revenue across the media industry.

Earlier this year, people with knowledge of the Post’s finances told the Times that the company was set to lose $100 million in 2023.

Condé Nast, NBC News, NPR and Vox Media are just some of the companies that have announced significant newsroom layoffs this year.

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