June 18, 2018

Washington Post employees are asking Jeff Bezos for better pay, more job security, and other important things


If you have to ask a powerful person something, it’s good to open with some throat-clearing and good news.

This is just how the Washington Post employees opened their recent petition to the paper’s owner, and the recurring villain of this blog, Jeff Bezos. They begin:

We, the undersigned, have been extremely grateful that you stepped in to purchase the Post at a time when the traditional media model was collapsing, and we have given our all to take advantage of the long runway you promised. In the past year alone, the Post has doubled the number of digital subscriptions and increased its online traffic by more than half; its advertising team has met or exceeded all its targets.

But eventually you gotta just work up the nerve to say what’s on your mind. And for dozens of employees, from Melissa Abell to Dejen Zeleke, better pay, increased benefits, and some real job security are on the brain.

The authors of the letter make clear how pitiable their rare pay increases really are, characterizing them as “shocking from someone who believes democracy dies in darkness.” Equally pitiable are the terms of their retirement plans.

They feel that the Post too actively pursues the right to lay off anybody without cause, and assert that severance for people in that awful position is dwindling or waived.

It also helps, when asking for something, to say “please,” as in: “Please show the world that you not only can lead the way in creating wealth, but that you also know how to share it with the people who helped you create it.”

Well put. We wish you good fortune, comrades.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.