Aug 4, 2022 - Economy

Reuters U.S. journalists strike for first time in decades

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Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Reuters on Wednesday alerted customers that its U.S. journalists planned to go on strike in response to ongoing contract negotiations between management and the NewsGuild, which represents its unionized staff.

Why it matters: It's the first time in over 30 years that Reuters' unionized staff have prepared a strike over contract negotiations, per the NewsGuild.

Details: Nearly 300 Reuters journalists are walking off the job for 24 hours on Thursday "in protest of management's slow-walking contract renewal negotiations," according to a statement from the NewsGuild.

  • The walk-off includes journalists from seven bureaus around the U.S. Many more journalists are expected to join them in various protesting efforts, including picketing across from Reuters News U.S. headquarters in Times Square.
  • The journalists are protesting management's offer of a guaranteed annual wage increase of only 1%, which they argue "would effectively mean a pay cut given the soaring cost of living," the statement read.
  • The NewsGuild alleges Reuters' management has failed to engage with journalists "and used stalling tactics in renewing their collective bargaining agreement, which expired nearly 20 months ago, on December 14, 2020."
  • It said it filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to those tactics on Monday.

What they're saying: In a note to customers obtained by Axios, Reuters assured its clients that it will "continue to offer an unrivalled range, breadth and quality of service, as we reinforce our commitment to journalistic excellence and value."

  • "We have extensive contingency plans in place to minimize this brief disruption and are confident that we will deliver the highest quality of service for our customers," the note said.

Reuters said in a statement that it "is fully committed to constructive negotiations with the NewsGuild as we work towards a contract resolution for our U.S. union employees."

  • "These conversations are ongoing and we will continue to work with the Guild committee to settle on mutually agreeable terms," it added.
  • Between the lines: The walkout occurred on the same day as Reuters' quarterly earnings report. Reuters beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and raised its full-year revenue forecast.
  • "While we reporters are called away from our families in the middle of dinner, something we gladly do for the job, Reuters executives sit in the comfort of their home offices managing the profits we bring in for the company," Reuters video reporter Julio-César Chávez noted in the NewsGuild statement.

The big picture: Strikes, walk-outs and threats of both have increasingly been used in negotiations between editorial workers and management, especially in the wake of the pandemic, which saw a record level of turbulence for newsrooms.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Reuters.

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