To protest the Hearst Corporation's plan to shoulder San Francisco Chronicle employees with an additional health care burden, members of the Chronicle staff plan to step away from their desks at precisely 3:15 p.m. tomorrow afternoon to step outside, do a couple laps of the building at Fifth and Mission, maybe have a smoke break or something, and then get right back to work.
Kat Anderson, speaking for the Friends of the S.F. Chronicle Guild, told SFist today that the demonstration is not a strike or walkout at this point — the workers are still on speaking terms with Hearst Corp and are hopeful that negotiations will continue until the newspaper workers can get a fair deal on their health care costs. Workers are simply encouraged to take their afternoon break at the same time, preferably while wearing red.
Last year union members at the New York Times staged a similar event to show their opposition to proposed contract terms at the Grey Lady. The protest at the Times saw some 375 workers hitting the streets for a brief walkout that inspired tomorrow's action at the Chronicle. The Bay Area's paper of record only has 277 workers total (some of whom may be strapped to their desks under deadline), but the Media Workers Guild is hopeful some of their pals in labor will be coming out to bolster the effort.
After yesterday's social media campaign, the group figures they reached some 140,000 people through the tweets and retweets of the 30 or so journalists who picked up the story. Although it crashed a few times, the group says their website got 2,400 hits and 268 out of 500 signatures to their petition. A second petition also has over 2,000 signatures.