New York Daily News staffers walked off the job Thursday– the paper’s first work stoppage in three decades — to protest “chronic cuts” by its hedge fund owners that “shrink the budget to fill their pockets.”
About a dozen journalists walked a picket line in the rain around a non-descript Midtown Manhattan building where the News maintains a co-working space that can fit only six people, according to union leaders.
The News — which bills itself as “New York’s Hometown Newspaper” — has been without a home since giving up its Lower Manhattan headquarters at the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020.
The 104-year-old tabloid was scooped up by notorious vulture hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which owns more than 200 newspapers, as part of a $633 million acquisition of Tribune Publishing in May 2021.
Under Alden’s thumb, Daily News workers have “quit in droves” — while new overtime policies require the skeleton staff to get pre-approved for overtime pay.
“Alden wants to act as if we are not being chiseled,” said union steward and Daily News reporter Michael Gartland in the union’s notice.
“We’re not going to engage in that intellectual dishonesty. In reality, we’re being crushed for cash. As a result, staff is diminished, which means our ability to cover the city is diminished. We believe this is bad for New York,” he added.
To make matters worse, there have been no pay raises in six years.
In fact, salaries were slashed by as much as 15% during COVID — partly attributed to reduced expenses for workers because they did not have to come to an office — and were never restored after the pandemic ended.
The paper has 54 union workers and a handful of editors as circulation has fallen to less than 60,000.
It is not clear whether the 24-hour walkout will keep the newspaper from putting out a Friday paper.
Its website had a smattering of updated stories early in the day.
Daily News journalists participating in the walkout asked passersby to sign a letter campaign to Daily News Executive Editor Andrew Julien, saying “that it’s time to stop draining resources and fighting its workers on overtime.”
The Post has sought comment from Alden Capital and Julien.
Editorial staff voted to form a union, part of the NewsGuild of New York, in 2021 but Alden has yet to hold any bargaining for a first contract.
A representative for The NewsGuild told The Post that 92% of the union is participating in the walkout.
“The hedge fund has made changes to overtime policies without bargaining, and now refuse to pay unless the new policies are followed,” said a letter from the union announcing the walkout.
“News breaks around the clock. Hedge fund owners not only don’t understand that but don’t care.”
Alden, following a similar playbook as it has at its other publications, has outsourced the Daily News’ printing operations and sold off the state-of-the-art presses at its former plant in Bayonne, NJ.
The last work stoppage at the paper — which at its peak had a circulation of 2.4 million — was a 147-day strike that ended in 1991.