Reporters and editors at The New York Times launched a one-day strike on Thursday, saying negotiations between the union and the company were protracted and showing limited progress.
The Times’ contract with The New York Times Guild expires in March 2021, after nearly 40 rounds of negotiations. Negotiators were unable to reach agreement on salary, health and retirement benefits, and other issues.
Over 1,100 employees have signed a 24-hour strike pledge. Part of New York’s NewsGuild, the contract-negotiating union represents about 1,450 employees in the company’s newsroom, advertising and other areas. In The Times newsroom he employs over 1,800 people.
In a statement Wednesday night, the union accused The Times of negotiating in bad faith.
“Their wage proposals remain ill-equipped with economic conditions, lagging well behind both inflation and average wage growth in the United States,” the union said in announcing it would go on strike. .
In a note to The Newsroom, The Times editor-in-chief Jo Kern said he was disappointed with the union’s decision.
“Strikes usually occur when negotiations hit a dead end. That is not where we are today,” Khan said. “The company and the news guild are divided on many issues, but we continue to exchange proposals and move forward towards an agreement.”
Compensation remains the most contentious aspect of the negotiations. The Times told union members he would get a 5.5% pay raise at ratification of the deal, a 3% pay raise for 2023 and 2024 for him, plus a 4% retroactive bonus to make up for the lack of pay raises after the contract expires. offers. The union is proposing a pay raise of 10% upon ratification, a pay raise of 5.5% in 2023 and he in 2024, and a retroactive bonus of 8.5%.
Other issues discussed during the talks included return-to-work policies and the company’s performance appraisal system for employees. In a survey released in August, the union said the system was discriminatory.
“Members of white guilds are more likely to get the highest ratings, while black and Hispanic members are more likely to get the lowest two ratings,” the study said.
After the union released its report, the Times’ senior management team studied ways to improve the rating process. In October, Editor-in-Chief Mark His Lacey announced plans to update it.
“Our ultimate goal is to build a simple system that everyone can apply fairly and consistently, with an emphasis on thoughtful feedback rather than evaluation,” Lacy wrote.
During a strike, non-union newsroom employees are primarily responsible for producing news reports.
“We will have a solid report on Thursday,” Khan wrote in an email to the newsroom. “But it will be harder than usual.”
Faced with a slowdown in advertising and an uncertain economic outlook, some media organizations, including CNN, BuzzFeed and the Gannett newspaper chain, have cut staff in recent weeks. During negotiations with The Times, union negotiators argued that reporters and editors were suffering from inflation because the company had healthy operating margins.
Meredith Kopit Levien, chief executive of The Times, wrote in a company-wide email that investments in reporting have provided many journalists with well-paid and stable jobs. Profits haven’t kept up with decades-old levels, she said.
“This investment has been made possible because the company has been meticulous over the past decade to restore economic growth in a fundamentally changing industry,” said Levien. . “We have done this by making sustainable financial decisions, not just now, but for years to come.”
Times journalists rarely go on strike. In 1981 he took less than a day, and in 2017 there was a brief strike protesting the abolition of copy desks. In 1978 he had no labor action to stop the publication of The Times since the pressmen’s strike, which lasted 88 days.
The union is planning a demonstration outside the Times headquarters in New York on Thursday afternoon.