New York Times braces for 24-hour newsroom strike
NEW YORK — The New York Times is bracing for a 24-hour walkout Thursday by hundreds of journalists and other employees, in what would be the first strike of its kind at the newspaper in more than 40 years.
Newsroom workers and other members of The NewsGuild of New York claim they are fed up of the endless bargaining since March 2021.. The union announced last week that more than 1,100 employees would stage a 24-hour work stoppage starting at 12: 01 a.m. Thursday unless the two sides reach a contract deal.
Negotiations lasted for more than 12 hours into late Tuesday and continued Wednesday, but the sides remained far apart on issues including wage increases and remote-work policies.
” It’s very likely that we will walk on Thursday,” said Stacy Cowley (a finance reporter and union representative). “There is still a pretty wide gulf between us on both economic and a number of issues.”
It was unclear how the day’s coverage would be affected, but the strike’s supporters include members of the fast-paced live-news desk, which covers breaking news for the digital paper. Workers are planning a rally outside the newspaper’s offices near Times Square on Thursday afternoon.
New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said to The Associated Press that the company had “solid plans” in place to continue producing content. These plans include relying upon international reporters and other journalists, who are not members of unions.
” While we are disappointed that NewsGuild is considering striking, we are ready to ensure The Times continues its service to our readers without disruption,” Rhoades said in a separate statement.
In a note sent to Guild-represented staff Tuesday night, Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy called the planned strike “puzzling” and “an unsettling moment in negotiations over a new contract.” He said it would be the first strike by the bargaining unit since 1981 and “comes despite intensifying efforts by the company to make progress.”
But in a letter signed by more than 1,000 employees, the NewsGuild said management has been “dragging its feet” bargaining for nearly two years and “time is running out to reach a fair contract” by the end of the year.
The NewsGuild stated that the company had told employees who planned to strike that they would not be paid for the duration. According to the union, members were also asked to work longer hours to get work done in advance of the strike.
The New York Times saw other, shorter walkouts over the years, including an August protest by a new union representing tech workers who claimed unfair labor practices.
In a breakthrough both sides considered significant, the company pulled back its proposal to replace the current adjustable pension plan with an improved 401 (k-) retirement plan. Instead, The Times suggested that the union could choose between the two. The company also agreed that it would expand fertility treatment benefits.
Levy stated that the company offered to raise wages by 5.5% after ratification of contract. This would be followed by 3% increases 2023, and 2024.. This would be an increase on the 2.2% annual increases in expired contracts.
Cowley said the union is seeing 10% pay raises at ratification, which she said would make up for the pay raises not received over the past two years.
She stated that the union wants the contract allowing employees to work remotely if their roles permit, but the company would like to be able to recall workers to the office. Cowley stated that the Times requires its staff to be present in the office at least three days per week, but that many workers have been showing up less often in informal protests.
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