Washington Post workers picket paper

WASHINGTON—Encouraged by a lively jazz band and toting brightly colored balloons, almost 100 Washington Post workers and their supporters picketed the paper on November 14, demanding its billionaire owner Jeffrey Bezos and his managers negotiate a fair contract with their union, The Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

The signs at the march, the second such protest at the Post’s front door, told part of the story of the intransigence workers faced even before their old contract expired June 14.

“$ Pay, pay, pay $ my 401(k)” read one placard. “Show us the $$$$,” read another. Bezos has the money: An Institute for Policy Studies report released the day before, Billionaire Bonanza 2017, put his net wealth at $81.5 billion, second only to Bill Gates nationwide.

The Post, the flagship paper in the Nation’s Capital, is proposing a $600 per worker yearly raise the first year of the contract, followed by $10 a week more in its second year. That’s “enough for one lunch a week at the food truck” parked beside the street flanking the park in front of the paper’s building, the union notes.

The now-profitable paper also wants to cut severance pay by 80 percent and take away workers’ right to sue for more should they win pay discrimination cases before the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, union Post co-chair David DeJesus said.

“Hands off my severance” another sign read, while “Equal pay for equal work,” was another chant, after a Guild study found huge disparities in favor of white men.

And the Post wants to keep its 1 percent match to worker 401(k) contributions, even though – as a condition of the last contract – it swallowed the overfunded traditional Post pension plan, replacing it with the 401(k). The paper also wants to eliminate seniority rights.

Besides WBNG members, members of the Office and Professional Employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers, The News Guild’s national office and the Postal Workers were among the picketers.

Source: PAI