The Washington Post reached a deal on Friday for a new contract with the union representing the majority of its newsroom employees, bringing an end to 18 months of bellicose negotiations that included a one-day work stoppage.
The tentative agreement, if ratified, would give all employees represented by the union an immediate raise of $30 a week, with an additional 2.5 percent raise in April plus raises in the coming years, The Washington Post Guild said.
“It has always been our goal to reach an agreement that addresses the needs of our employees and our business,” The Washington Post said in a statement. “We are confident this contract provides both and appreciate the efforts of all who have worked to make this happen.”
In an email to its members, the Guild said that the new contract was a “win,” and that the union had brought the company back to the table with “tireless organizing.”
“After 18 months of negotiating — months in which Guild members gave moving testimonies at the bargaining table, signed petitions, attended pickets, lunched out for fair pay and pulled off the biggest work stoppage at The Washington Post in nearly 50 years — the company has finally agreed to a deal,” the statement said.
The union deal was reached days before Will Lewis, a British-born news executive, is set to start as chief executive of The Post. He will replace Patty Stonesifer, who is a longtime business adviser of The Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, and has been steering the company while Mr. Bezos sought a permanent business leader.
Friday’s agreement is a welcome development in The Post’s newsroom, where journalists have seen a series of goodbye emails from colleagues announcing that they were accepting the company’s offer of a buyout. In October, Ms. Stonesifer announced that the company would eliminate 240 jobs, part of an effort to hold down costs as losses of $100 million mounted for the year.
Among the journalists who said they were taking a buyout was Jeff Leen, the paper’s widely admired investigative editor, who quarterbacked projects including a Pulitzer Prize-winning series on invasive data collection by the National Security Agency.
In the final days of negotiations, relations between The Washington Post Guild and the company became strained. This month, employees staged a one-day work stoppage and encouraged readers to refrain from sharing the company’s articles online for the day and not cross “the digital picket line.”
On Wednesday, Guild members “occupied” The Post’s morning news meeting, repeatedly posting, “Is this all you think we’re worth?” in the meeting’s online chat.
This week, Ms. Stonesifer sent an email notifying employees that the company would withdraw a $500 ratification bonus if the two sides didn’t reach an agreement before the end of the year.
Members of The Washington Post Guild will hold a contract ratification vote next week during meetings held over Zoom, according to a memo sent to employees Friday.