Four days before Election Day, employees at Gannett newspapers across New Jersey and other states are going on strike today to protest cost-cutting measures at the national newspaper chain that have resulted in layoffs, furloughs, and a decision not to fill key vacant positions.
The one-day walkout affects reporters at The (Bergen) Record, Asbury Park Press, Courier-News, Home News Tribune, Daily Record, and the New Jersey Herald, as well as employees of the Atlantic Digital Optimization Team.
“Gannett is actively sabotaging our democracy by attacking its own journalists,” said Jon Schleuss, the, NewsGuild-CWA president. “The company has the money to invest in journalists and it should start doing that immediately instead of fighting them.
Reporters will continue to cover news today, but will instead post their work on their strike paper, the Gannett Union Press.
Gannett reported losing $54.1 million during the third quarter of 2022, despite cost-cutting measures that included over 400 layoffs nationally in recent months. The company lost $53.8 million in the second quarter.
The union said that the decision to strike was not an easy one.
“It runs counter to our passion for journalism and the communities we serve,” a statement posted on Gannett Union Press stated. Those very communities recognize our value and the need for the work we do, but, sadly, Gannett does not.”
The union website cited “the most recent draconian measures,” of forced furloughs next month, additional layoffs and a suspension of funding retirement plan matches, as “the latest example of Gannett’s disregard for our passion, our work and our commitment.”
“I’m walking off the job today along with my unionized colleagues in New Jersey, New York, Arizona and California to protest Gannett’s cost cutting including layoffs, furloughs, 401k cuts and bargaining in bad faith,” said Scott Fallon, a reporter at the Bergen Record. “We’re tired of it.”
The union slammed Gannett CEO Mike Reed for taking an $8 million annual salary, which the say is 160 times the median salary of a Gannett employee.
Another Bergen Record reporter, Colleen Wilson, said she and about 200 other Gannett journalist “walked off the job today to protest wide-ranging cuts to our newsrooms and to fight for a fair contract.”
“I’m walking out to support my colleagues in our efforts to get living wages that will allow us to stay in the communities we cover, job security and the resources we need to deliver the best local news coverage to our readers,” said Jean Mikle, a reporter for the Asbury Park Press.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Gannett’s one-day strike.