Support Crosscut Union's fight for sustainable wages and benefits

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Dear Crosscut supporters,

Almost two years ago, the journalists and producers of Crosscut and KCTS9 unionized. We did so in response to worries over staff churn and wages that did not keep up with experience levels and skyrocketing living costs. We’re currently in the final stages of negotiating our first contract. But wages and benefits — including more mental health resources — continue to be a major sticking point. 

Earlier this month, Cascade Public Media management offered an insultingly thin proposal. It included zero increases in vacation or sick leave; a pitiful increase in our Employee Assistance Program for mental health coverage; no changes or improvements in health care coverage; and annual wage increases that do not keep up with the growing cost of living in the Seattle area. 

This is demoralizing. As the only arm of CPM entirely devoted to local coverage, we are a central factor in helping the organization live up to its mission to serve the Pacific Northwest as “the premiere local media organization.”

What’s more, this proposal pales in comparison to the pay hike of our CEO and president, Rob Dunlop. In the fiscal year ending June 2019, the last year for which data is publicly available, Dunlop received an annual compensation package of $517,490, a 16% increase over the previous year. That jaw-dropping compensation package places Dunlop among the highest-paid public media CEOs in the country. 

The company’s current wage proposal would give members less than a fraction of that 16%. The majority of employees would see a salary increase of roughly $50 a month upon ratification — a paltry sum compared with Dunlop’s massive pay. 

Between its successful fundraising campaigns and its bloated executive salaries, it’s clear that CPM has the funds and ability to pay its journalists fairly. In fact, at a recent all-staff meeting we were once again reminded of our impressive financial position. It’s clear management lacks the will, not the money.

We care about Crosscut and Cascade Public Media and want to see the organization thrive. We want to ensure journalists at one of the few growing local media organizations in the Northwest can actually live in the communities they cover. To keep the workers that are left, and to foster a diverse workforce that can’t fall back on generational wealth, we need Cascade Public Media to commit to our wellbeing.

What Cascade Public Media management has proposed amounts to the status quo. But that status quo is untenable. 

In the past weeks, four talented staff members have left our newsroom, three of them women of color. We’ve called on Cascade Public Media (CPM) to improve retention by investing in its employees. We need improved access to healthcare so we can care for our mental health. And we need wages that keep up with our competitors and the exorbitant cost of living in Seattle. 

We have already lost too many talented colleagues. We are calling on CPM to join us in creating a workplace where talented journalists can and want to keep working.

If you support us, please let Cascade Public Media know by signing this letter. Thank you.