Free Press journalists reach labor deal amid uncertainty
Detroit Free Press journalists recently ratified a new, two-year collective bargaining agreement as parent company Gannett navigates a dire economic outlook.
Why it matters: Unionized workers for the Free Press have been working on a month-to-month labor deal since its last contract expired in 2019.
- While the deal offers local journalists a thin layer of security, the prospect of future job cuts is still looming — Gannett announced more layoffs last week.
Driving the news: Union members unanimously approved the contract Nov. 17.
- The union pushed for raises, but the deal instead includes bonuses of $1,250 in each year of the contract.
Other terms of the agreement include:
- Five unpaid furlough days before the end of the year.
- Wiping pending grievances filed before the deal's ratification.
What they're saying: "It's a good thing for the Free Press. It's a good thing for Detroit," Free Press editor and vice president Peter Bhatia tells Axios. "I'm glad we got it done."
- Bhatia also disputed some of Axios' previous reporting on the negotiations and the absence of wage increases over the past four years. While raises had not been given across the board, certain individual workers received merit raises.
The bottom line: The deal is a welcome development for Free Press journalists in the short term, but Gannett's grim forecast casts a cloud of uncertainty over the newsroom heading into 2023.
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