The Washington Post strike
Hundreds of employees at The Washington Post are expected to go on strike on December 7, 2023. AFP

Hundreds of staff at The Washington Post, one of America's most storied newspapers, will walk off the job for 24 hours Thursday, their union announced, slamming the company for refusing to negotiate a contract "in good faith."

The strike comes after 18 months of failed talks to reach a new deal over pay, remote work, and other conditions -- and after the daily, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, warned more layoffs were possible.

Labor unions are galvanized in America's tight labor market, with everyone from Hollywood writers and actors to auto workers to baristas taking their grievances to the picket line in recent months.

"Taking this historic action is not a decision we came to lightly," the Washington Post Guild said in a letter to readers announcing the work stoppage.

It said management had "refused to bargain in good faith and repeatedly -- and illegally -- shut down negotiations over key issues" including pay, mental health support for staff and buyouts.

"The Post cannot stay competitive, retain the best talent or produce the kind of elite journalism you rely on without giving its staff a fair deal."

The Post Guild represents about 1,000 staff -- both newsroom and commercial employees, according to its website. In October, a Post report about plans for 240 voluntary buyouts said the company had roughly 2,500 employees.

The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the specific number of staff expected to join the picket line.

The New York Times reported on December 1 that more than 700 members had so signed the strike pledge.

Traditional US media have struggled in recent years as readers turn to social media platforms and advertising revenues have plummeted.

The labor action at the Post follows a strike earlier this year at America's largest newspaper publisher, Gannett, and a 24-hour action by New York Times staff a year ago.

Workers at the Associated Press staged a "short break" last month over their lack of contract. Their guild has rejected a two percent raise offered by management.