Talks between the Post and the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, which represents some 1,400 Post editorial and business employees, over a new three-year contract broke down last month. The guild’s contract expired May 18.
Union members argued the paper’s pay raise proposal — a lump sum of $1,100 for the first year and raises of 1 to 3.7 percent in succeeding years — was too low. The guild has proposed raises that average about 3 percent a year.
The two sides are also at odds over whether vacation time can be carried over from year to year and whether writers should be allowed to resign from the union at any time.
The strike, which came as the paper published a special edition commemorating its 125th anniversary, is the first such action since 1988.
Articles that would normally carry a reporter’s name were instead bylined “By a Washington Post Staff Writer” or “Washington Post Foreign Service.”
Reporters were left unidentified in six of the seven stories on the paper’s front page. The one bylined story was written by real estate editor Nancy McKeon — a member of the paper’s management.
”People are much angrier this time than they were last time,” Rick Weiss, a Post science reporter and a cochairman of the Guild unit, told The Boston Globe.
Company negotiators, he said, ”have barely budged on anything since day one of bargaining.”
Patricia Dunn, the Post’s vice president for labor and chief negotiator, said the reporters “have the right to withhold their bylines.”
She told the Post’s Frank Ahrens the company management’s focus “will continue to be on resolving the remaining contract issues at the bargaining table.”
Ahrens’ story on the strike, which appeared on the second page of the paper’s lead section, did carry a byline.
The strike is expected to continue in the paper’s Thursday edition.