10 of 18 Real News Network Staffers Laid Off – Starting Holiday Severance Fund

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Just last week we learned that a third of The Real News Network staff will be laid off on Tuesday, December 22, only three days before Christmas. 

TRNN decided to cut 10 out of 18 union members and 14 staffers total out of their approximately 35 staffers after a wealthy donor pulled back some of their funding. 

It’s a brutal blow to a crucial independent media outlet based in Baltimore, MD that has published groundbreaking work on poverty and police brutality in the city, and has provided national platforms for many smaller publications including Payday Report. 

“We’re told that cuts to funding made the layoffs necessary, but that doesn’t soften the blow, which amounts to more than half of our bargaining unit,” wrote The Real News Network Union in a statement on their GoFundMe page. “Our coworkers are brilliant, talented, and hardworking, and do not deserve this. The United States is in the worst economic recession in nearly a century and enhanced unemployment benefits have long expired.” 

A generous donor, we cannot confirm who at this time, ensured TRNN that all of its workers would receive an extension of six months of healthcare in the layoffs. 

However, many of the workers might be short on cash and have trouble qualifying for unemployment because of the pandemic’s long wait times. And, many staffers will be facing overwhelming financial anxiety as the holiday season approaches. 

TRNN is continuing to bargain over the effects of the layoffs. Fortunately, the workers’ union contract helps, and with recall rights, many workers hope that a resolution can be reached quickly so that they can return to work. 

In the meantime, they have launched a GoFundMe campaign, and we at Payday are asking if you would consider donating. 

When Payday first started, I was so broke I was crashing on friends’ couches. It was a small grant from The Real News Network in 2017 (to cover the failed union vote at Nissan in Canton, Mississippi) that allowed me to rent my apartment and help Payday mature into the publication it is today. 

So, we know we ask you to support Payday Report. But, if you could please give what you can to support some of our real comrades, please do. 

We want to show our solidarity for The Real News Network by helping them raise money for their severance plan this holiday. 

If you can spare some money for The Real News Network holiday severance fund, that would be great. 

Open your hearts this holiday season and give a little to The Real News Network. 

Love & Solidarity,


Donate to Help Real News Network Have a Happy Holiday

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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