Journalists Sue 'Chicago Tribune' And Alden Global Capital, Alleging Race, Sex Discrimination

The Chicago Tribune and its owner Alden Global Capital have been hit with a class action lawsuit, accusing them of “illegal underpayment of female and African American journalists.” 

The complaint states that pay is based on sex, race and ethnicity “as a result of centralized policies and practices.”

Moreover, the company fosters and enforces “a culture of secrecy surrounding the pay and salaries of their workforce,” it continues.  

According to the complaint, the paper uses diversity recruitment programs as “a source of cheap labor.”

In addition, the defendants “intentionally hire women and African American employees from suburban newspapers—including ones they own—that they know pay much lower salaries than major newspapers,” the complaint alleges.  

It continues that white employees, particularly males, “are more often recruited from other major news organizations and are offered higher salaries as a means to induce them to accept employment with Defendants.”



Systematic pay differences are not based on a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or “a bona fide job-related factor other than race.”

The suit seeks class action status, injunctive relief and an order requiring the adjustment of the wage rates and benefits. 

The plaintiffs include 

  • Madeline Buckle, senior reporter
  • Terrence James, photojournalist
  • Stacey Wescott, photojournalist
  • Colleen Kujawa, opinion content editor 
  • Deanese Williams, deputy senior content editor
  • Darcel Rockett, senior reporter
  • Christy Gutowski, senior reporter

The defense had not answered the action at deadline. 

The case is on file with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

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