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Everett Herald workers strike

Workers strike following the layoff of 10 union workers and two editors

EVERETT, WA (June 24, 2024) — Everett NewsGuild members, represented by the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, will participate in a one-day strike and picket in downtown Everett on Monday in the wake of layoffs announced last week. These layoffs cut the newsroom staff in half, with notices handed down to 10 of 18 union workers. The Everett NewsGuild is taking action to urge the newspaper’s new owner, Carpenter Media Group, to negotiate and reinstate these jobs.

“We are walking out to remind them that there is no product to leech off of without the journalists who go out and cover Snohomish County every day,” said Ryan Berry, a photographer on the bargaining committee who was laid off.

Wednesday’s layoffs included the executive editor, managing editor, page designer, web producer, six reporters and two photographers. Before cuts, the newsroom had five editors, one page designer, one web producer, 13 reporters and three photographers. Out of the 12 layoffs, 10 were Everett NewsGuild members. 

The strike comes after a Herald article about the layoffs last week, in which Publisher Rudi Alcott said “Moving forward, operations are not going to change much. The readers won’t notice.” Upon publication, readers began to share their distaste for this comment, and Alcott then removed the article from the website, calling it a “hit piece.” In response, editors and staff threatened to offer their immediate resignation if the story remained offline by the end of day Thursday. The article was republished, with Carpenter Media Group ownership adding that layoffs were “part of a larger plan to improve the economics of the newspaper and better serve the community.”

However, Carpenter Media Group has plans to lay off at least 62 employees across Sound Publishing, a local news organization covering 43 media outlets in Washington and Alaska, including the Everett Herald. 

While layoffs have been announced at the Everett Herald, under federal labor law the employer must negotiate with the Guild before pursuing layoffs. The Guild’s demand to come to the bargaining table builds on the success of newsroom unions across the country who have ensured protections for members facing the loss of a job.

The Everett NewsGuild was formed in the fall of 2022, and these layoffs come after more than 15 months of negotiations between the employer and staff to reach a first contract. The Guild reports that ownership sat on the union’s initial wage proposal, which would have provided living wages to Herald journalists in the competitive Puget Sound market, for nearly a year. On May 1, company leadership provided the NewsGuild its own wage proposal, with a starting wage of $19.50, well below the wage needed to live in Snohomish County.

“It’s clear we need to build every protection we can into our contract both now and in the future,” said Jordan Hansen, a NewsGuild member and reporter who was not part of the layoffs. “That means the company needs to know we’re serious. We are serious about saving local journalism jobs and serious about receiving better wages.”

TAKE A STANDjoin Everett NewsGuid members and supporters on the line. 

DATE: Monday, June 24
TIME: 9am – 3pm
LOCATION: Starting at the intersection of Colby and Hewitt in downtown Everett, ending at the intersection of Colby and 41st near the Herald office.

Learn more at Get updates from the Everett NewsGuild on Twitter/X (@EverettGuild)

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