New York Times journalists, other workers on 24-hour strike
NEW YORK — More than 1,000 New York Times journalists and other staff walked off the job for 24 hours Thursday, frustrated by contract negotiations that have dragged on for months in the newspaper’s biggest labor dispute in more than 40 years. Hundreds of journalists, editors, photographers, and other employees protested outside the newspaper’s offices in Manhattan’s Times Square. With a hollowed out newsroom, the Times was relying on international and non-union staffers to deliver content to its more than 9 million worldwide subscribers until the strike ends at 12: 01 a.m. Friday. The NewsGuild of New York voted to strike, despite the failure of both sides to reach a compromise in marathon negotiations that ended Wednesday evening. The sides are still at odds over issues such as wages, remote work policies, and a performance review system that the union claims is biased racially. The current contract expired in March 2021,, and the union accused the company for dragging its feet with negotiations.
” I’m not mad. “I’m just deeply disappointed in the company,” said Nikole Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. “You shouldn’t have to struggle financially in order to work at a place such as The New York Times In an email to the newsroom Executive Editor Joe Kahn stated that he was disappointed by the decision to strike while negotiations are not in an impasse. The Times reported on the walkout in its own story. Kahn said Thursday’s report would be “robust” but that producing it “will be harder than usual.”
Stacy Cowley, a finance reporter and chief union negotiator, said the strike nearly depleted many newsroom teams, including her own.
Participants included members of the fast-paced, live news desk that covers breaking news for the digital publication. This feature was in operation Thursday and focused on Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball player, being released from Russian prison as part a prisoner swap. The Times relied on pre-written copy that was being updated by strike reporters for some news.
“An alert with my name on it has just gone out. It was a pre-written article ahead of an expected vote. “I stand with the guild!” tweeted Times congressional reporter Annie Karni, whose story was published on the House’s approval for a bill protecting same-sex marital relationships.
The NewsGuild argued that employees should be paid more for their efforts in making The New York Times a success story in the long-struggling news industry.
The Times, which has grown its subscriber base in recent years, projected an adjusted operating profit of between $320 million and $330 million for 2022 in its most recent earnings report. The Times reported that Meredith Kopit Levien, Chief Executive of the Times, stated in an email to all employees that profits are not as high as they were a decade ago. The strike comes as other U.S. media outlets, including Gannett, CNN, and BuzzFeed, have reduced staff due to difficult economic conditions and a decline in advertising.
A note was sent to the guild-represented staff Tuesday evening. Cliff Levy, Deputy Managing Editor, described the strike as “puzzling” in a note. He also said that it was an “unsettling moment” in negotiations for a new contract.
The New York Times had seen a few walkouts in recent times, but the last strike that prevented its publication was in 1978..
In one breakthrough that both sides called significant, the company backed off its proposal to replace the existing adjustable pension plan with an enhanced 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.
Cowley stated that there was momentum in negotiations this week and hoped to avoid more work stoppages.
“But, if talks stall again, we will be asking for your trust and support to further actions,” Cowley said to the crowd.
The NewsGuild stated via Twitter that “management walked out of the table with five hours left” before the planned strike. New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha stated in a statement that negotiations were continuing when the company was informed that the strike was taking place.
Cowley said that union representatives were ready to continue negotiations, but editors were informed by several reporters that they would join the strike and management stopped bargaining for the night. She stated that Tuesday is the next scheduled negotiation session.
The company offered to raise wages by 5.5% after ratification of contract. Then, 3% increases in 2023 or 2024. would be made. This would be an increase on the 2.2% annual increases in expired contracts. The union is seeking 10% pay raises at ratification, and 5.5% raises in 2023 and 2024.
Journalists with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, meanwhile, are in their second week of a strike over contract negotiations about pay and other policies. Of the 32 staff at the paper, 21 are on strike, according to the Fort Worth NewsGuild. McClatchy, McClatchy’s parent company, denies that the union refused to negotiate in good faith. Steve Coffman (executive editor of the Star-Telegram) denied this and said that the company is looking forward to reaching an accord. Since October,
Newsroom workers are staging a similar strike at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Associated Press Writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas and Deepti Hajela in New York contributed to this story.
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