New York Times reporters stage historic 24-hour strike after management, unions fail to reach deal

New York

The New York Times’ 24-hour strike, a historic demonstration with more than 1,100 employees expected to take part, began at midnight Thursday after more than a year and a half of negotiations between management and the union representing the workers.

Meredith Kopit Levien said: “Given that we have made a clear commitment to negotiate a contract that will provide The Times journalists with substantial salary increases, market-leading benefits and flexible working conditions, It is disappointing that they have taken such drastic action,” the Times president and chief executive said in an email to the company Wednesday night.

The New York Journalists union, which represents Times reporters and other staff, said in a statement that the strike was “due to the company’s failure to negotiate in good faith, to reach a fair contractual agreement with workers, and to meet their demands.”

Staff at the newspaper of record haven’t staged a protest in decades, which will leave many of its main desks empty, presenting a crisis for a news organization that millions of readers depend on. challenge.

Stacey Cowley holds a sign outside the New York Times Building in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 8, 2022.

A Times executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged to CNN on Wednesday that the shutdown will certainly cause difficulties. However, the executive said management is now ready to rely on the newspaper’s other resources, such as its largely non-union international staff, to fill vacancies.

“We will have a strong report on Thursday. But it will be harder than usual,” Joe Kahn, executive editor of The Times, said in a note to staff.

In an email to the company, Kopit Levien added that The Times “has plans in place to ensure that our obligations to our readers and the public are met by covering the story as fully as possible despite any disruptions caused by the strike.”

But some Times staffers on Wednesday even urged readers not to read the outlet’s content during the strike.

“We ask readers not to engage in any [New York Times] Platform of tomorrow and stand on the digital picket line with us! Amanda Hess, the newspaper’s freelance critic, tweeted. “Read local news. Listen to public radio. Make something from the cookbook. Break your Wordle winning streak. ”

At a rally Thursday afternoon outside the Times Square offices, dozens of union members held picket signs and handed out pamphlets demanding higher wages.

New York Times reporter Nicole Hannah-Jones speaks outside the offices of The New York Times on Thursday, Dec. 12.  8, 2022, New York. Hundreds of New York Times reporters and other staffers protested outside the Times offices 24 hours after quitting their jobs, frustrated by months of contract negotiations dragging out in the paper's biggest labor dispute in more than 40 years.

“We make paper, we make profit!” the crowd chanted.

The strike comes as the Gray Lady and the New York NewsGuild remain at odds on a number of issues, notably wages, amid layoffs and layoffs across the media industry.

In recent weeks, CNN has laid off hundreds of workers, newspaper chain Gannett has cut 200 jobs, NPR says it needs to save $10 million, and other news organizations are exploring the need for budget cuts and hiring freezes.

The New York Times insisted that it offered the guild “substantial raises,” but the union countered that the newspaper’s management “often misrepresented its own proposals.”

The Union Times, a newsletter published by NewsGuild, described Wednesday’s wage concession at The New York Times as “paltry” and said management had “little to no budget” on the issue.

The two sides have been haggling since the previous contract expired in March 2021. On Friday, NewsGuild informed The Times of its plans to stage a strike, a move aimed at putting pressure on management to make more concessions in negotiations.

The union has asked The Times to hold an interim meeting on the pay rise, but the paper believes that the union’s extreme positions make this impossible.

Both sides have been trying to avoid a 24-hour strike all week. But it didn’t work.

Times management has been frustrated with the way the NewsGuild has sought to negotiate and blames the lack of progress in part on the talks.

“They refused to meet in person,” the executive told CNN. “This is a very important point. I can’t stress this enough. We negotiated about Zoom. There were about 8 people in management, as many as 18 people on the NewsGuild negotiating committee, and as many as 200 union members as “observers.” “Watch.

“Negotiations are largely open,” the executive continued. “It changes the whole dynamic of the negotiations. It becomes very performative and dramatic. It’s really hard to get things done. It’s like a show. We need productive negotiations to get a deal.”

Susan DeCarava, president of the New York Press Association, responded, “Union democracy is essential to union power. That’s why we don’t negotiate behind closed doors, which management keeps demanding.”

“All members who will be affected by decisions at the negotiating table should be involved in these discussions,” the representative added. “When Times management comes to the negotiating table with insulting and disrespectful proposals they have to explain to a room full of staff – they hate it. The result of management’s public actions is a powerful strike tomorrow .”

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