Why do workers need unions?
Unions have been at the forefront of almost every progressive change in the American workplace. Thanks to unions, we have the 40-hour work week, paid vacation, sick leave, family leave, minimum wages, health care insurance, workmen’s compensation, pensions, retirement benefits and occupational safety regulations on everything from coal-mining equipment to ergonomic desks.
Unions also mean better wages and benefits. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that "nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 82 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($860 versus $1,051)."
Consider the flip side: there’s little doubt that the decline in union membership over recent decades has contributed to the biggest increase in income inequality in modern memory.
Why do we need a union at The Washington Post?
We are the nation's premier news organization owned by the richest man in the world. While we love working for The Post -- and recognize our paper's fortunes turned around when Jeff Bezos became our boss -- we must work together to make sure management treats us fairly and hears our concerns. Our journalists, designers and salespeople are the best, and they deserve to be treated as such. Joining The Post Guild doesn’t mean you’re anti-Washington Post. It means you want The Washington Post to be the best news organization in the country — both because of the journalism it produces and the way it treats the people who report, market and deliver it.
Who does the Washington-Baltimore News Guild represent?
The WBNG is the local umbrella union that includes The Post Guild. It works on behalf of most non-managerial employees at The Washington Post, including ad sales reps to circulation drivers, editorial writers to foreign correspondents.
What does the union do for Post employees?
We negotiate a contract — typically every two years — that establishes minimum working standards for all employees and company-wide raises you receive in addition to any merit raises you are awarded. (The most recent raise, in summer 2018, was about 1 percent; another 1 percent will come in summer 2019.) We fight for better pay and benefits, including job security, health care insurance, family and medical leave and retirement benefits. We also track and advocate for other issues that affect our workplace, like diversity and pay equity.
What we fight for is important, but it’s just as critical to know what the Guild has fought against. In recent years, Post management has tried — and in some cases succeeded — in weakening job security, eliminating health care insurance, trimming life insurance coverage for business travelers, reducing severance pay and cutting retirement benefits.
Does the Guild do anything besides contract negotiation?
The Guild continues working for you even after the contract is settled. We have held special events promoting members’ books. We have arranged to donate deferred vacation time to employees who ran out of sick leave. We have negotiated buyouts for people facing layoffs.
Most importantly, we have successfully represented countless employees in individual disputes with management. This means helping employees facing disciplinary action, sometimes because of unfair performance evaluations designed to push them out. It’s a service we all hope we won’t need and yet many — including some high achievers whose past troubles might surprise you — have been glad to have.
Don’t I already benefit from the Guild’s work without being a dues-paying member?
You do! But The Post gauges our union’s strength by its membership and its activism. The single most important thing you can do to increase the odds of improving your pay and benefits is to become a member — and ask your colleagues to join as well. Joining also puts you in good company: More than half of newsroom employees are dues-paying members, and company-wide membership is around 50 percent.
Why is the union especially important now?
We will start negotiating a new contract in 2020 and we have big goals. We need everyone if we want to be as strong as possible when we sit down at the bargaining table with Post management.
What does it cost to join?
Guild dues cost 1.4 percent of your pay. They are deducted from your paycheck each pay period after taxes. You can use our dues calculator to determine dues based on your salary.
Do I get a prize for joining?
Every new member receives a $50 American Express gift card. Everyone who recruits a new member receives a $25 finders' fee.
Where do my dues go?
Your dues help pay for professional staff who help us organize members and negotiate contracts. Dues also pay for office space at 1225 Eye Street NW (across Franklin Square), attorney fees and other costs, such as the study on wage disparity.
Can I be penalized for joining the union?
Take it from the National Labor Relations Board: "You have the right to form, join or assist a union. ... This includes your right to distribute union literature, wear union buttons, t-shirts, or other insignia ... solicit coworkers to sign union authorization cards, and discuss the union with coworkers. Supervisors and managers cannot spy on you (or make it appear that they are doing so), coercively question you, threaten you or bribe you regarding your union activity or the union activities of your co-workers. You can't be fired, disciplined, demoted, or penalized in any way for engaging in these activities."