WaPo Staff Lay Out Grievances in #DearJeffBezos Petition Circulated on Social

More than 400 employees demanded fairer wages and better benefits

Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million. Getty Images

More than 400 Washington Post employees signed a petition to the publication’s owner and Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, demanding fair wages and an improvement to benefits.

The Post shared the petition and a video of the staffers talking about their grievances in a social media campaign using the hashtag #DearJeffBezos. Those who signed the petition, including editorial and support staff members, asked for “fairness” for each employee who “contributed to the company’s success,” according to the petition circulated by The Washington Post Guild.

The staff laid out a number of issues, including denying improvement to retirement benefits, offering just $10 per week in pay increases—which amount to 0.6 percent of the median salary—and requiring employees to waive their legal rights to severance payments that they called an “extreme” and “ominous” demand.

“The Post is not just any business venture. But even if it were—this would not be the way to show that you value your employees,” the employees said in the petition.

Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million. Washington Post executives, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on the petition.

Under Bezos, the business of licensing its digital content management system to other publishers has grown substantially and the publication now boasts attracting 2 million print readers per week and 95 million unique visitors per month.

“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,” the employees said in the petition.

The Washington Post staff recently just won the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for its Roy Moore coverage and shared a Pulitzer Prize in national reporting with The New York Times for its reporting on the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

You can read the full petition here.

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.