CHICAGO (AP) — More than 200 reporters, photographers and other staffers with the Chicago Tribune and six other newsrooms around the nation began a 24-hour strike Thursday to protest years of “slow-walked” contract negotiations and to demand fair wages.

The strike, which includes 76 members of the Chicago Tribune reporting staff, photographers and some editors, began at 5 a.m., said Caroline Kubzansky, a member of the Chicago Tribune Guild who is a general assignment reporter with the newspaper.

It is the latest recent strike in the U.S. news industry. The striking workers are employees of Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund that has been buying up newspapers across the country and faced criticism for slashing budgets and cutting jobs.

The NewsGuild-CWA, which represents the employees, said the workers participating in the 24-hour strike are demanding fair wages and that management not eliminate their 401(k) match benefits. It said the staffers “have been fighting for a contract through their unions for as long as five years.”

“Tomorrow’s walkout is the single largest coordinated action journalists at the company have taken against Alden Global Capital since the hedge fund purchased Tribune Publishing in 2021, in a deal that saddled Tribune Publishing with $278 million in debt,” The NewsGuild-CWA said Wednesday in a news release.

The union said cuts imposed by Alden Global Capital have “gutted newsrooms” and included cutting the Chicago Tribune’s staff from 111 to 76 people since June 2021. Those cuts “have hurt journalists’ ability to provide quality public information and hold power to account,” The NewsGuild-CWA said.

An email message seeking comment on the strike was sent to Mitch Pugh, the Chicago Tribune’s executive editor, who replied that all inquiries should be directed to Goldin Solutions. A message seeking comment was sent by The Associated Press to Goldin Solutions on Thursday morning.

Aside from the Chicago Tribune and four sister newspapers in the Chicago suburbs, some of the other striking workers include staffers with the Orlando Sentinel; the Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Virginian Press; Daily Pilot; Virginia Gazette and Tidewater Review, according to The NewsGuild-CWA.

Brought to you by