May 18, 2023 - News

Chicago Sun-Times newsroom gets a new contract

Photo of a logo of a union guild

Logo courtesy of the Sun-Times Guild

After 10 months of negotiations, the Chicago Sun-Times Guild has finalized a labor contract with managers and parent company Chicago Public Media, which also runs WBEZ.

Why it matters: The merger between WBEZ and the Sun-Times forged one of the strongest newsrooms in the city and threw a lifeline to a paper that had been struggling to stay afloat.

  • The collaboration could also offer a model for other radio-newspaper ventures.

The deal: According to the Guild, the new contract includes 9.5% raises across three years, the biggest they've gotten in over two decades. Plus:

  • Retirement benefits for the first time since the Sun-Times' 2009 bankruptcy
  • Minimum reporter starting pay at $60,000
  • Retention of rights for overtime pay and sympathy strikes if the WBEZ newsroom (represented by SAG-AFTRA) goes on strike.

The intrigue: Guild leadership says it's still pushing for representation on the Sun-Times and Chicago Public Media boards, along with answers about why Sun-Times CEO Nykia Wright suddenly departed last January.

  • The Guild also wants CPM CEO Matt Moog to relinquish one of his other jobs as "Sun-Times CEO and chairman of the Sun-Times Media board of directors, where he oversees himself," per a statement on the contract.

The other side: CPM responded to Axios' request for comment about these outstanding issues with a link to a Sun-Times article that did not address any of the questions.

Of note: Monica Eng was a member of the Sun-Times Guild in the 1980s and a leader in the WBEZ SAG-AFTRA unit during her time at WBEZ.


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