Chicago Sun-Times Reaches Agreement with Union, Will Re-hire a Few Photogs


News regarding the Chicago Sun-Times and its former photo staff is usually of the negative variety. Whether we were covering how the entire staff was unceremoniously laid off, or the fact that they were being replaced by iPhone photography classes, there hasn’t been much positive news to report.

That changes today (at least to some degree) thanks to a settlement between Sun-Times Media and a newsroom employees union that managed to get four of the 28 photographers their jobs back, and secure a $2,000 one-time payout for the rest.

Of course, 4 of 28 isn’t a great percentage, and $2,000 isn’t a settlement anybody covering the story has been inclined to call ‘generous,’ but it is certainly better than nothing and represents one small win for the former Sun-Times photojournalists.

According to the NPPA, the agreement does come with several strings attached. For one, there is no guarantee that the four re-hired photographers will return to the flagship newspaper in Chicago, only that four photojournalist spots will be made available within Sun-Times Media.

There’s also no mention of who they will select or how they will go about doing it, and the entire settlement hinges on the photographers in question agreeing to drop an unfair labor relations charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Response to the settlement has been luke-warm, but warm nonetheless. As photojournalist Rob Hart explained to News Photographer magazine today, “Two thousand dollars isn’t much, but for people with kids at least it’s something to put toward college or something.”

(via Imaging Resource)

Image credit: The Chicago Sun-Times building by James Cridland

  • joe

    Token gesture.

  • SiriusPhotog

    I wouldn’t even call it that. More like a slap in the face. At least they are still talking though. Hopefully they don’t settle for this.

  • Renato Murakami

    Too little too late. Damage has been done. Band-aid over bullet wound.

  • Dikaiosune01

    yeah. A bullet wound over the Femoral artery.

  • niXerKG

    I hope no one applies but I know there will be some and it’s exactly what they wanted. Cut all the photogs, make them beg to come back, pay em less.

    Also I hope the Chicago Tribune photogs don’t go crazy over this because soon they’ll end up in the same boat.

    Sad all around.

  • Scott M.

    What a sad story that was. Maybe with no union, better results?

  • mantis


  • Bruce Wenner

    Why push this onto my facebook newsfeed two days in a row? Especially when it applies to 0.00001% of photographers? It’s a fine piece for the PetaPixel page but I’d like broader relevance pushed into my newsfeed.

  • geodesigner

    Yay! The dismissed photogs will be able to buy the Sony A7r with that amazing settlement deal!

  • Bill

    Absolutely, the union is living in yesteryear. It’s a new era, where we will be most likely judged on our merits, as it should be. I feel empathy for the photographers. When the going gets tough the tough get going, it’s not just a cliche it’s a fact.

  • dawndawnb

    Based on merits? Not when they’re handing out iPhones to reporters. Not mention, this isn’t happening only in unionized newsrooms.