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Thursday, August 11, 2022

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Reuters journalists in US plan first strike in a long time

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Thomson Reuters Corp. journalists within the US are getting ready to launch a daylong strike Thursday, the primary walkout in a long time among the many media firm’s long-unionized workers.

Employees plan to begin a 24-hour strike at 6 a.m. New York time Thursday after claiming the corporate didn’t pretty negotiate pay will increase, in accordance with the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild, which represents US-based Reuters reporters, photographers and video journalists. The group mentioned about 90% of the 300 or so Reuters workers it represents agreed to take part.

The information group proposed a three-year contract with assured annual pay will increase of 1%, in accordance with the union, which might erode worker spending energy in opposition to a backdrop of 9% inflation. Members of the guild consider Reuters managers aren’t working with them in good religion, and have additionally filed a grievance with the US National Labor Relations Board. They be part of an increasing group of media employees which have lately pushed again in opposition to what they characterize as unfair remedy by their employers.

“In 2020 we were all asked to step up,” mentioned vitality reporter Tim McLaughlin, a member of the union’s bargaining committee. “Everyone just rose to the occasion, and we thought – wrongly as it turns out – that we would get something in return.”

In an emailed assertion, Reuters mentioned it was “fully committed to constructive negotiations with the NewsGuild” to reach a contract. “These conversations are ongoing and we will continue to work with the Guild committee to settle on mutually agreeable terms,” the corporate mentioned.

Reuters employs round 2,500 journalists in near 200 cities complete, in accordance with its web site. The guild represents workers at shops together with the Washington Post, Politico, and Bloomberg LP’s subsidiary Bloomberg Industry Group. Bloomberg LP, dad or mum of Bloomberg News, competes with Reuters as a supplier of economic information and companies.

The Reuters strike comes amid a wave of elevated activism and organizing amongst media employees. The NewsGuild has prevailed in unionization elections lately at publications such because the Los Angeles Times. It additionally mounted strikes through the previous yr at shops together with Buzzfeed, the Miami Herald and, throughout Black Friday, the New York Times Co.’s Wirecutter product-review website.

Reuters workers timed Thursday’s walkout to coincide with the corporate’s second-quarter earnings announcement, hoping to maximise consideration from administration and prospects. While one-day strikes typically do extra to influence corporations’ public picture than their operations, the guild mentioned it expects the strike to disrupt Reuters’ newsgathering work by forcing administration to depend on reporters overseas or editors to cowl the day’s occasions.

In its assertion, Reuters mentioned, “We have extensive contingency plans in place that will minimize this brief disruption and are confident that we will deliver the highest quality of service to all our customers.”

The media firm mentioned in its first-quarter earnings report in May that gross sales and income exceeded expectations, with complete firm income up 6% from a yr earlier, to $1.67 billion. One of Reuters’ main prospects mechanically pays extra as a result of rising inflation, in accordance with its 2021 annual report. The London Stock Exchange Group Plc, which bought a knowledge enterprise from Reuters in 2019, pays the media firm no less than $339 million per yr till 2048, and “the contract requires adjustments related to changes in the consumer price index,” in accordance with the report.

In the May earnings announcement, Thomson Reuters Chief Executive Officer Steve Hasker mentioned the corporate would put money into its enterprise and workers. But guild members, whose most up-to-date union contract expired in late 2020, mentioned the corporate hasn’t been giving again to the workers who fueled its success.

“Most media companies are having a hard time, but that ain’t us,” McLaughlin mentioned, including that the angle of Reuters workers ranges “from peeved to apoplectic.”

A 1% enhance in pay would quantity to an 8% decline in buying energy, in accordance with Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, who served because the Labor Department’s chief economist underneath President Barack Obama. And some economics analysis suggests inflation gained’t ease within the near future.

“It is no surprise that workers are not OK with that,” Shierholz mentioned. “In order to fully offset inflation, right now a big increase will be required.”

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