Encouraged by a lively jazz band and toting brightly colored balloons beneath cloudy skies, almost 100 Washington Post workers and their supporters picketed the paper on November 14, demanding that billionaire publisher Jeff Bezos and his managers negotiate a fair contract with their union, The Washington-Baltimore News Guild. “Show us the $$$$,” read one of the signs at the picket line, the second such protest at the Post’s front door in recent months. Bezos has the money: an Institute for Policy Studies report released Monday put his net wealth at $81.5 billion. Yet the Post is offering a scant $600 signing bonus, followed by $10 a week more in the contract’s second year, while the profitable paper 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. “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.
- Mark Gruenberg, PAI News; photo by Chris Garlock