South Bend Tribune strikes parent company Gannett for higher wages, resources
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Journalists represented by the South Bend News Guild are striking for better wages and more resources for news coverage.
Staff and journalists marched from the St. Joseph County Court House to the South Bend Tribune office to push for a change in leadership at parent company Gannett.
“This is not a comfortable thing for us to do, to come out here,” says Joseph Dits, a reporter with the South Bend Tribune. “We’d rather be working, but we’ve come to this point, and I see it as a pivotal moment. We are part of a newspaper; I’ve been with the South Bend Tribune for at least 30 years, so to me, it’s family. We’ve got great editors and bosses here locally, and we all care deeply about this community, and we do a yeoman’s job on the things that we do cover, but we believe the community deserves more of that, so we’d like the support to take that deep concern and do more.”
The largest newspaper company in the U.S., Gannett, owns around 200 newspapers nationwide.
The local journalists are not alone in the strike, as journalists all over the country call for a change in leadership at Gannett.
“We all care deeply about this community, and we do a yeoman’s job on the things that we do cover, but we believe the community deserves more of that, so we’d like the support to take that deep concern and do more,” Dits said.
The top complaint is that these journalists are underpaid and overworked as community watchdogs.
“We’ve had so many losses, it’s always hard to keep track of how many of folks that have moved on because of lack of decent pay, so they find jobs elsewhere that pay better,” Dits said.
Their union, NewsGuild-CWA, representing 1,000 workers at 50 Gannett newspapers, has called for a no-confidence vote against Gannett CEO Mike Reed at Monday’s shareholder meeting.
“The folks here at the South Bend Tribune, we care deeply about our community,” Dits said. “This is a job we’ve taken on long ago when we got into journalism; we knew that it wouldn’t be that great; we do it for the love of the community, but at this point... we need a contract. We’ve been negotiating for three years; we haven’t quite reached good terms for our contract, and we need more staff.”
A petition has been created that calls on Gannett to provide ample job opportunities, promote diversity, and advance media professionals in the organization.
“There is a petition that folks can find, and there’s also a hashtag here that people can go to and make postings and reach out to Gannett and its CEO,” Dits said.
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