Ryan Berry, right, leads Everett NewGuild members through a chant during the second day of their strike on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Ryan Berry, right, leads Everett NewGuild members through a chant during the second day of their strike on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Herald strike continues, as owners aim to resolve layoffs

Carpenter Media Group hoped to sit down with striking workers by the end of the week, to bargain over the effect of 12 newsroom layoffs.

EVERETT — Unionized news staff at The Daily Herald continued to strike for a second day Tuesday, picketing layoff notices that threaten to roughly halve the newsroom.

Cars honked Tuesday as about a dozen news staffers waved signs at the corner of 41st Street and Colby Avenue, near The Herald’s offices.

Todd Carpenter, chairman of Mississippi-based Carpenter Media Group, has said staff reductions were meant to ensure the long-term stability of Snohomish County’s top news source. Carpenter’s plan eliminated positions of 10 of 18 Everett NewsGuild workers, as well as two top editors.

“Carpenter has done nothing productive since wrecking our newsroom last week,” said Ryan Berry, one of two photographers laid off from a three-person photo staff, in a written statement.

In an interview, Berry added: “The only action they’ve taken is cutting more than half the newsroom.”

Layoffs cannot take effect until the company bargains with the union. Union members alleged the company was stalling. The company responded Tuesday by offering to meet and bargain by the end of the week.

“We value open communication and are committed to handling these matters with the seriousness they deserve,” Carpenter Media Group Senior Vice President Josh O’Connor said. “We are prepared to discuss how to support our employees and continue to serve our readers with high-quality and credible local news.”

On Monday, about 50 people joined in a march down Colby Avenue, from downtown Everett to The Herald’s office.

Staff said they felt invigorated by community support.

Over the past week, The Herald’s editorial page has been flooded with letters from readers: “Cuts to newspapers, staffs a great loss for all,” “Herald doesn’t deserve to be bled dry,” “Herald owners don’t realize what’s being cut.”

Former Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson chimed in, saying Carpenter’s stated goals of better serving the community while cutting staff were “in conflict with one another.” He suggested a community advisory group to help navigate the future of the newspaper.

“Open, honest journalism and investigative reporting are keys to well functioning government,” Stephanson wrote.

A “strike fund” to support picketing workers had raised over $12,000 as of Tuesday.

Editor’s note: This article was reviewed by local management before publication.

Caleb Hutton: 360-689-5723; caleb.j.hutton@gmail.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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