March 27, 2013

SF Chronicle employees protest new Hearst Corp. healthcare plan


Employees at the San Francisco Chronicle (which announced last week that it will move some of its content behind a paywall) have taken to Twitter and Facebook to protest a new healthcare plan proposed by the Hearst Corporation that employees say will cost them considerably more than their previous coverage.

Though Hearst has proposed a 1.5% pay raise for its remaining employees (there were substantial layoffs in 2009), employees argue that the contributions they’ll have to make under the new healthcare plan actually amount to a pay cut to the tune of hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

As a result, they’ve launched a Facebook page (here), a Care2 petition (here), and a Twitter campaign, replacing their profile pics with a red square, like this:

This is a particularly satisfying upending of management’s employment of social media to promote the new Chronicle site. In an article on KQED‘s Newsfix Blog Laird Harrison reports that:

When the newspaper launched (which appears to be a way of trying to increase revenue), management asked reporters and editors to tweet about the new offering.

In fact, the very columnists that SF Chronicle is touting in its appeal to potential subscribers as its “most enduring legacy” have joined the protest. It remains to be seen whether the Hearst Corp. will appreciate the irony.


Sal Robinson is a former Melville House editor. She's also the co-founder of the Bridge Series, a reading series focused on translation.