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The Fort Worth NewsGuild is going on strike. Here’s why.

For more than 100 years, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has served our community. 

This year alone, our reporting led to a formal inquiry into sexual abuse at a federal prison, exposed deadly conditions at the Tarrant County Jail, analyzed the unjust ways Texas handles property taxes and investigated a botched COVID-19 vaccination plan from the UNT Health Science Center. Our service team has tenaciously kept the community up to date on the pandemic. Our photojournalists have captured videos and photos that show the lives behind our reporting and tell stories of their own.

All of that is at risk.

Low wages, hostile working conditions and a hemorrhaging industry have pushed journalists to the brink, including senior reporters with deep knowledge and connections in the community.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Two years ago, the staff of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram formed a union — the first modern newspaper in Texas to do so. We came together to protect the Star-Telegram’s legacy of excellence, aiming to foster a brighter future. We know fair wages, better benefits and forward-thinking policies are the key to saving local news.

Instead of working toward that goal with us, Star-Telegram owner McClatchy has battled against it.

Now, the Fort Worth NewsGuild says “no more” to unfair and unreasonable bargaining practices in a way no other modern newspaper in Texas or McClatchy has done. We’re going on strike.

The company enlisted the top union busters in the nation to represent it in contract negotiations, and has bargained without good faith and committed unfair labor practices. The Fort Worth NewsGuild and other unionized McClatchy-owned newsrooms have filed multiple complaints to the National Labor Relations Board about those labor law violations. Decisions on many of those complaints are pending.

Time and time again, the union busters paid handsomely by McClatchy have returned proposed contract items with zero deviation from company policy.

For example, our bargaining team painstakingly researched the cost of living in our region to create an in-depth proposal for a minimum salary. The company’s counterproposal was a standardized minimum salary that matches what Star-Telegram journalists were making in the 90s. When asked repeatedly how the company came to that figure, its representatives couldn’t give an explanation.

If McClatchy does not come back to the bargaining table with fair proposals, the Star-Telegram will inevitably lose more talented journalists with reputations for serious, uncompromising, ethical reporting.

Our goal is the same as it was the day we formed our guild. We’ve only grown stronger and more determined, but so it seems has the company’s determination to undermine the NewsGuild’s efforts. The company’s bottom line seems to be investing as little money as possible in newsrooms so upper management can line its own pockets. This model of leeching resources while demanding higher production has bled the journalism industry for decades.

If you want to show support for local news, join us on the picket line. We will be marching in the Crockett Row area every day of the strike, from noon to 1 p.m. You can also support us financially by donating to our GoFundMe campaign or by attending our fundraiser at Tulips (112 St. Louis Ave. in Fort Worth) on Dec. 2 from 6-8 p.m.

Through its unfair labor practices, McClatchy has forced our hand with this strike. The company has underestimated the strength of the Fort Worth NewsGuild and our devotion to fair working conditions. We will accept nothing less than a fair contract. 

We’re ready to bargain, McClatchy. Are you?