NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The union at the Daily Hampshire Gazette has been demanding change from the owners of the paper since October. They’re hoping this support from column writers will be the final push they need.
A group of column writers for the Daily Hampshire Gazette are joining forces with the Pioneer Valley News Guild. These writers will not submit columns to the newspaper until the paper’s owner, Newspapers of New England, agrees to the unions demands. Demands include fair wages and job security.
Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, 1st Hampshire District & Columnist, told 22News, “Gazette workers are some of the lowest paid in the region, and the wages that they’re asking for the small increase they’re asking for is really not very much. So we’re withholding out monthly columns in order to support them and stand in solidarity.”
According to Representative Sabadosa, the paper’s union members are asking for a 3 percent increase. Based on current, average wages this comes out to about a 50 cent increase.
John Paradis is another column writer and says taking a stand now is for the good of all local newspapers, “It’s vital to our democracy. We need to have a watch dog press, that holds those in power accountable, that’s necessary. It’s how our government functions. We can’t do that without print reporters.”
The union will meet with a representative to discuss this contract on Thursday, but until an agreement is reached, these writers say they’ll continue to strike.