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Chicago Tribune Journalists Sue for Pay Discrimination

Journalists working for the Chicago Tribune allege the paper pays its white male journalists more than its other reporters.

Darcel Rocket, one of the suit’s seven named Tribune reporters, has worked there for thirteen years. She received one raise in 13 years for her work reporting on Black and Brown communities and the inequities in those communities. The plaintiffs assert that an independent analysis of newsroom salaries shows the paper pays white women and Black male journalists 10% less and Black female journalists 20% less than white men. The reporters assert these long-term salary differences significantly impact their ability to buy homes, pay bills, and send their kids to college. They accuse the Tribune's management of fostering "a culture of secrecy surrounding the pay and salaries of their workforce." The parties also state that budget cuts, staff attrition, and buyouts have reduced the diversity of the newsroom. The plaintiffs seek back pay for the last five years and to equalize the reporters' salaries.

Alden Global Capital bought the Tribune in 2021 and is becoming one of the largest newspaper companies in the U.S. The company has a reputation for buying local or regional papers, gutting jobs, and then unloading real estate to increase profits. After purchasing the Denver Post in 2018, the staff called Alden "vulture capitalists" on the front page and revolted against management. The Baltimore Sun's reporters tried to block Alden's ability to buy its paper in 2021. Seven of Alden's newsrooms staged a strike this year to protest the company's refusal to give them cost-of-living raises and desire to end 401(k) matching.