Negotiations will begin to get back pay to news staffs

  SEATTLE — The National Labor Relations Board announced in late May that it had found merit to the Washington State NewsGuild’s charge that the McClatchy Company illegally withheld long overdue raises to recently unionized journalists.

  The Washington State NewsGuild filed an unfair labor practice complaint on April 6 charging the McClatchy company with wrongfully refusing to include Washington employees in its rollout of a company-wide wage floor increase after employees announced their intent to unionize on Dec. 16, 2020.

  Those charges alleged McClatchy had unlawfully interfered with employees’ exercise of protected rights under the National Labor Relations Act and retaliated against employees for engaging in protected activity.

  Effective March 1, the McClatchy company announced new salary floors of $42,000 and $45,000 for its journalists, depending on where they work.

  “While we had hoped that our parent company would willingly invest in its employees and not withhold these much needed raises during a pandemic, we are glad to see the NLRB see merit in our position,” stated a press release from the Washington guild.

  An NLRB board agent will now begin negotiating a settlement on the Guild’s behalf so employees who should have seen wages increase under the new salary minimums will receive their raises at last, as well as back pay for what they should have been paid all along.

  This is a sign that unionization efforts can work to improve the working conditions of members, the guild said. “We will soon enter into negotiations with McClatchy to finally ensure our employees are given the support they need to continue serving our communities.”

  McClatchy publishes The Bellingham Herald and The News Tribune of Tacoma.