Sacramento Bee Guild, McClatchy reach tentative agreement

The Sacramento Bee Guild is happy to announce it has reached a tentative contract agreement with McClatchy that ensures reporters can stay focused on the quality local journalism for which The Bee is known.

The company, which was bought in September by hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, had proposed tying reporters’ raises to the number of clicks their stories get.

The guild objected to the proposal, which could have encouraged reporters to prioritize sensational stories over more substantial work.

After the guild called on the public for support, the company agreed to drop the proposal in a tentative agreement reached Friday. The agreement acknowledges metrics, such as pageviews, play a role in newsroom decision-making but doesn’t force make-or-break targets on reporters.

“The company heard us and made the right decision for our readers, our community and the journalists of The Sacramento Bee,” said guild chair Theresa Clift. “We hope they do the same for the rest of McClatchy’s publications.”

Guild members still must vote on the agreement, which would be in effect through 2022.

The company also agreed to keep providing vehicles for photographers and reporters, ensuring they won’t have to drive their own cars to assignments like wildfires, floods or crime scenes.

And after a campaign led by unionized McClatchy newsrooms around the country, the company announced last week it is expanding paid parental leave for its California papers while offering it for the first time for all 30 of its publications.

“Contract negotiations during a pandemic and bankruptcy were difficult, to say the least,” Clift said. “Through it all, the journalists of The Sacramento Bee stood together with colleagues at McClatchy papers across the country and thousands of people who signed a petition and letters urging the company to listen. We’re proud of our effort and grateful to our supporters.”

In solidarity,

Theresa Clift, Bee Guild chair
Jason Pohl, Bee Guild vice-chair
Darrell Smith, Bee Guild secretary
Wes Venteicher, Bargaining committee

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Pacific Media Workers Guild

We are the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. We represent more than 1,200 journalists and other media workers, interpreters, translators, union staffs and freelancers.