It's no secret the Chron's had a rough couple of years, reportedly hemorrhaging some $50 mil annually. Efforts to stanch the bloodletting have included a series of layoffs that have ravaged the newsroom, a couple of paywall attempts (the most recent of which went into effect this weekend) — and now, apparently, cutting benefits for the very people who've actually had to shoulder all this more-with-less burden: the paper's staff. According to a release posted on MediaWorkers.org, despite "sacrificing pay raises, giving up seniority, losing vacation time and holidays, even working through what used to be our paid lunch hour," over the years, the paper's staff members (many of whom are, full disclosure, friends and acquaintances, and, in my experience, good people and very hardworking journalists) are now being asked by Hearst, the Chron's privately held parent company, to chip in more for health benefits, for an increase that they estimate will total hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars annually per person.
Here's the full release:
We, the employees of the San Francisco Chronicle, have had enough.
We love this newspaper, and we’ve worked hard since the layoffs of 2009 to help keep it afloat. We’ve done everything Hearst demanded: sacrificing pay raises, giving up seniority, losing vacation time and holidays, even working through what used to be our paid lunch hour.
For years, we’ve been working twice as hard with a smaller staff — doing everything needed to keep this paper relevant and great.
And this is how the highly profitable Hearst Corporation pays us back.
In our ongoing Guild contract negotiations, Hearst continues to insist that we shoulder huge increases for our health plan. Even offset by a meager proposed raise, this amounts to a pay cut of hundreds or thousands of dollars a year for most of us.
We love the Chronicle, and we love journalism, but we can’t keep donating our own livelihoods to increase the profits of our corporate owners.
Help us tell Hearst that San Francisco deserves better.