Reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to authorize a strike.
The 287-to-26 vote allows leaders at the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia to start preparations, but journalists would not walk off the job until after their current contract extension ends on June 27th.
Members of the guild’s bargaining committee will travel to Detroit this weekend to meet with leaders of the international union who must also give the green light to a strike.
Executive Director Bill Ross says he hopes the vote will send a message to the Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), which owns all three news outlets.
“Our members won’t agree to any further cuts and concessions,” Ross said. “They can’t survive that way.”
After 30 bargaining sessions, both sides remain locked in a stalemate over health care costs and seniority.
PMN spokeswoman Amy Buckman said in a statement that the company respects the rights of guild members to authorize a strike and is committed “to operate both digitally and in print in the event of a strike, so that we can continue to serve our readers, subscribers, advertisers and employees.”