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A lawsuit filed by Chicago Tribune employees alleges discrimination based on race and gender in unequal pay

Employees on strike outside the plant (Via Alex Anderson/Via Shutterstock)

Some employees of the Chicago Tribune are suing the company, claiming that women and Black journalists are paid less than their white male counterparts. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Chicago on Thursday, also names Tribune Publishing Co. and Alden Global Capital, which took control of the Tribune in 2021.

Lawyers representing the seven plaintiffs are seeking class-action status, a jury trial, and a permanent order to stop unequal pay based on discrimination related to gender and race. They are also asking for back pay that employees would have received if they had been paid the same as white males in similar positions.

“This lawsuit is not just about reporters wanting higher salaries,” said Michael Morrison, one of the attorneys representing the Tribune reporters. “It’s about fairness and equality.”

The lawsuit alleges that although the Tribune employs highly respected journalists with unique skills and contributions, women and African American employees across all sections of the news operation are paid thousands of dollars less per year compared to their male and white colleagues.

Employees on strike outside the plant (Via Alex Anderson/Via Shutterstock)

It also accuses the newspaper of using diversity recruitment programs to hire women and minority journalists at lower salaries, creating a disparity. According to the lawsuit, these journalists are often hired for temporary year-long positions with significantly lower pay compared to their counterparts doing the same work.

On the other hand, the lawsuit claims that white employees, especially white males recruited from other major news organizations, are offered higher salaries to entice them to join the Tribune.

Earlier this year, 76 Tribune reporters, photographers, and editors participated in a 24-hour strike along with staff from six other newsrooms across the country. They were demanding fair wages and protesting what they saw as slow contract negotiations.

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