More than 1,100 union members at The New York Times staged a 24-hour strike Thursday over disagreements with executives about benefits and wage increases.
Union members with The New York Times Guild, which consists of 1,300 members, refused to work and organized picket lines outside headquarters to demand higher wages and ensured pension and retirement benefits. Employees and executives at the publication did not come to an agreement by the union’s Dec. 8 deadline.
The union threatened a walkout in a Dec. 2 letter to publisher A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien over their alleged threat to slash their company benefits and wage raises. Since their contract expired in March 2021, they demanded a new contract by Dec. 8 that granted higher wages, pensions, healthcare and their retirement plan.
The employees also demanded a remote work policy and a “performance ratings system” that protects against biases certain staff members allege to experience.
In a Wednesday statement, the Guild said the agreement does not meet their demands.
“For the past 20 months we have asked the New York Times management, over and over, to bargain in good faith for a union contract and to provide employees our fair share of the revenue the company has earned from all of our hard and diligent work. Their responses have led us to walk out for 24 hours,” the Guild said.
To our readers: We did not make this decision lightly. We are deeply committed to the success of the @nytimes. We also know that we produce our best work when we feel valued and are treated equitably. Thank you for standing by us today. pic.twitter.com/5Phd53ZeRP
— NYTimesGuild (@NYTimesGuild) December 8, 2022
Joe Kahn, the executive editor of The Times, expressed disappointment with the strike but remained optimistic that the executives and union can make an agreement. The Times has offered union members a 5.5 percent raise once the contract is finalized, an additional 3 percent raise over the next two years and an 8.5 percent retroactive bonus, the Times reported. (RELATED: The Big Liberal Media Bloodbath Of 2022 Spills Into December)
“Strikes typically happen when talks deadlock. That is not where we are today,” Mr. Kahn said. “While the company and the NewsGuild remain apart on a number of issues, we continue to trade proposals and make progress toward an agreement.”
Levien had also stated in a companywide email that the publication’s investments have secured and protected the staffers during inflation and other economic challenges.
In preparation for the walkout, New York Times employees urged the public not to read the publication in order to help support their strike.
“We’re asking readers to not engage in any @nytimes platforms tomorrow and stand with us on the digital picket line! Read local news. Listen to public radio. Make something from a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak,” Amanda Hess, critic-at-large for the publication, tweeted.
In a memo to employees, Human Resources chief Jacqueline Welch warned that those who picketed would not receive payments “for the duration of the strike” nor use their vacation benefits.
The Guild staged its first major strike at the Times in 1978, when employees stopped working for 88 days, the Times reported.