A plan is developing for hundreds of Gannett journalists to walk off the job in protest on Monday over cost-cutting measures, including The Naples Daily News and The News-Press.
The goal is to get the attention of Gannett’s CEO, the parent company of the Fort Myers News-Press and Naples Daily News. Union workers, which includes reporters, blame Gannett for the company’s financial struggles.
Kate Cimini, an investigative reporter for both papers, said no one is asking for the moon, just help make ends meet.
Covering stories important to the Southwest Florida community is precisely what Cimini said is her top priority for the Fort Myers News-Press and The Naples Daily News.
“Journalism’s called the Fourth State for a reason. We’re there to protect the people,” Cimini said.
Cimini, and many of her co-workers, said they can’t afford to live in the cities or counties they cover. Cimini went on to explain this is a bargaining battle more than three years in the making.
“And we still don’t have a contract,” Cimini said.
In 2019, Gannett merged with GateHouse. The deal came with a promise of dramatic cost savings. Cimini said the deal led to layoffs, low pay and mounting frustration.
“Since then, we’ve lost more than half of our staff,” Cimini said.
Layoffs weren’t the only issue. Cimini said that others on staff quit and searched for more stable jobs. Moreover, they searched for jobs providing enough money for rent, gas and financial obligations. It’s why Cimini and other Gannett News employees plan to strike on Monday.
“We’re doing it because we want attention. We want to work. You know, we want to get that contract. We all want to come to work and be happy and do valuable work, every single one of us,” Cimini said.
The one-day strike is set for Monday. Cimini said she and her coworkers would go out and volunteer to help the community by doing a beach clean-up.
WINK News reached out to Gannett for comment. A spokesperson responded with a statement credited to Naples Daily News and The News-Press. It said, “Despite the anticipated work stoppage, we will not cease delivering trusted news to our loyal readers. Our goal is to preserve journalism and serve our communities across the country as we continue to bargain in good faith to finalize contracts that provide equitable wages and benefits for our valued employees.”
The News-Press has existed since 1884, and Naples Daily News started in 1923.