(SPLINTER NEWS) — The narrative casting Jeff Bezos as a transformative media baron reached new heights in 2017. His Washington Post consistently set the political agenda while claiming two straight years of profitability. Bezos himself glowed on the red carpet as an improbable journalism hero when Steven Spielberg’s The Post, a fictionalized account of the newspaper’s publication of The Pentagon Papers, opened in December.
Bezos is worth $111 billion. He is the richest man in the world. But over the past eight months, his prized media outlet has repeatedly stymied requests for better pay and benefits from the employees who’ve driven its renaissance. The paper’s union, the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild, remains locked in a tense contract dispute, union reps told Splinter, with management ceding little ground in negotiations over annual raises, improved retirement plans, and other workplace protections. Hanging over the talks is the question of how to pressure an owner whose purchase of the newspaper is widely credited for pulling it back from the brink.