Chicago Tribune staffers strike to demand fair wages, contract from company owner

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Thursday, February 1, 2024
Chicago Tribune staffers strike to demand fair wages, contract
A Chicago Tribune strike Thursday involved a journalist walkout with staffers demanding fair wages and a contract from company owner Alden Capital.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Tribune staffers walked out of the newsroom Thursday in a historic 24-hour strike.

About 200 Tribune company employees in Chicago, and journalists several other cities, said they have no choice but to walk out.

This is the first time in the 176-year history of the newspaper that employees have walked out. The News Guild employees said they have been without a contract for five years and owner Alden Capital Group continues to try to cut salary and benefits.

"My rent just went up again today," said Kurt Ludke with the Design and Production Guild. "It's up 20% since 2019. My pay has gone up 0%."

They are journalists. They cover the news every day. They are not used to being the subject of news coverage.

"It takes a lot of folks in the media to step across and become part of the story," Chicago Tribune photographer Stacey Wescott said. "We try and stay in back of that. So we have literally been pushed to our limit."

Union leaders said the Tribune's owners made a huge profit by selling their River North headquarters and buying a much less expensive building in the northwest suburbs. The Freedom Center is set to be the eventual home of Chicago's first Casino.

"These folks are making big money, obscene amounts of money," Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Ray Long said. "We just want fair money."

Union organizers said their next bargaining session is set for the middle of next month, and they are not ruling out a longer walkout next time.

"We're here to shout to Alden use some common sense," Chicago Tribune writer Darcel Rockett said. "Journalism is a public service. Invest in your people. Our democracy depends on it."

ABC7 reached out to Alden Capital for comment, but have yet to respond.