The Daily News offers 13¢ raise


Union journalists at the The Daily News in Longview, Washington, are fighting for their first contract and they’re facing resistance from management when it comes to wage increases.

The Longview newsroom voted unanimously to unionize with NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America (CWA) last May. Since then, they’ve been working towards their first contract with Lee Enterprises, a media company that owns 77 newspapers across the country.

Union and management have reached agreement on language covering severance, layoffs and other points, said Katie Fairbanks, a reporter at The Daily News and a member of the bargaining team. But as the negotiations turned to wages, the tone has shifted.

In December the union bargaining committee proposed step increases for years of experience, and cost-of-living adjustments. The company’s response was to offer no increases and stick with a base wage of $16.69 an hour for everyone.

The union made concessions to its own proposal and came back with a modified offer, but the company responded by cutting it down to $16.69 again, according to the NewsGuild.

The company’s latest offer increases the base rate for new employees by just 13 cents, to $16.82 an hour (a 0.8% increase), and rewards five-year employees or those with a master’s degree with a whopping $17.31 an hour.

The NewsGuild says that’s not going to cut it, particularly when inflation is on the rise and workers face increasing housing costs.

In a Feb. 10 bargaining session, the NewsGuild proposed a 5% increase for all employees from the wages Lee is offering. Over the course of the contract, for all members of the union, that would cost the company about $14,000, the union calculated.

Management shot that down entirely.

The next bargaining session is set for late February, and in the meantime, the union is asking supporters to write to Lee Enterprises and voice support for the journalists.

“With their continued refusal to negotiate with us, this is where we’re at right now,” Fairbanks said.



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