Nearly 300 journalists at Reuters will walk off the job Thursday for 24 hours in protest of management’s slow-walking contract renewal negotiations, the first major labor action by journalists at the company in more than 30 years.
Journalists are expected to walk out and hold rallies at seven Reuters bureau offices — Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Boston.
Journalists are protesting management’s offer of a guaranteed annual wage increase of only 1%, which would effectively mean a pay cut given the soaring cost of living.
The company’s profits are at record highs: since the end of 2017, the company’s cash from operating activities has totaled about $6.3 billion and its dividend has risen by nearly 29%. Yet management’s latest offer, in addition to the 1% guaranteed wage increase, also includes zero retroactive pay for the nearly two and a half years since its last general wage increase in March 2020.
“For the past two years we have been risking our lives, putting our physical safety and health on the line reporting the news that makes Reuters the best news agency in the world,” said Julio-César Chávez, a video reporter at Reuters, in a statement. “While we reporters are called away from our families in the middle of dinner, something we gladly do for the job, Reuters executives sit in the comfort of their home offices managing the profits we bring in for the company. I’m walking out today because our work is what powers the success of Reuters, and we deserve to be compensated adequately for it.”
Management has failed to even engage with journalists and stalled in renewing their collective bargaining agreement, which expired nearly 20 months ago, on Dec. 14, 2020. Management has also refused to schedule a single bargaining date in August.
Journalists proposed 15 bargaining dates in August, all of which were rejected by management.
On Monday, the NewsGuild filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response.
The walkout will come on the day of Reuters’ quarterly earnings call, where the company is expected to announce strong profits.