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Desert Sun journalists set to go on strike after contract negotiations with Gannett fail

Employees with The Desert Sun NewsGuild, which represents the reporters, photographers, and digital producers at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, are set to go on strike against parent company Gannett.

According to a press release issued today, a supermajority of journalists at The Desert voted to go on strike after failing to reach an initial contract agreement with the company since unionizing three years ago.

The Desert Sun NewsGuild has accused Gannett of refusing to offer consistent raises or any protections against health care cost hikes. The local guild also accused the company of committing multiple unfair labor practice violations during the unionization process.

The strike vote comes after several member-led actions, including multiple lunch-outs in solidarity with other unionized Gannett newsrooms, a one-day walkout in November 2022 and another in February 2023, and a five-day walkout in June 2023. The local guild has also held rallies across the valley to tell community members about its efforts. 

“We’ve fought for three years to make it clear to Gannett that they need to invest in the workers that get up everyday and do this critical work, but they don’t seem to be listening,” said Christopher Damien, unit chair for The Desert Sun NewsGuild. He added, “consistent raises for young journalists so they can afford to live and work in the communities they cover are not only critical for our first contract, they’re critical for the future of this industry.”

We have spoken to a member of the local guild, and they are not prepared to release any other details about plans to strike.

The guild has launched a strike fund to support their efforts.

We also reached out to Gannett for comment and were provided the following statement.

"Our goal is to preserve journalism and serve our community as we continue to bargain in good faith. Our community can be assured there will be no disruption to our ability to deliver content and trusted news."

Amy Garrard, Vice President of Labor Relations at Gannett
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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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