“The Sulzbergers Must Hate This”: Scenes From The New York Times Picket Line

A sea of ​​red shirts filled half the block outside The New York Times HQ in Manhattan spilling onto the street; Scabby, the 12-foot inflatable rat with bloodshot eyes and a suppurating stomach, sat next to a box with additional signs: “NEW YORK TIMES WALKS OUT.” On Thursday, after months of building editorial frustrations over stalled contract negotiations, the Times Guild quit the job, a historic act of protest the newspaper hasn’t seen in more than 40 years. workers in the union told her readers keep away Times website, forgo the crossword and break their wordle streaks. reporter cleared that all articles published today with their names on them have been written in advance. Outside the office, photographers and cameramen hung from scaffolding, eyes over the crowd; Union members demanded a $65,000 wage floor and improved healthcare benefits, and erupted in cheers whenever a truck horn honked in solidarity. A reporter from another magazine, taking in the scene, murmured, “The Sulzbergers must hate this.”

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The union, which represents around 1,450 workers, threatened last week to walk out if it failed to reach a contractual agreement with management before December 8. The Guild said Some progress was made during a 12-hour meeting on Tuesday: management agreed to keep the pensions (a key union concession after executives tried to get members on the company’s 401(k) plan) and the to expand fertility benefits, but “there was negligible movement” on wages, said financial reporter and negotiation committee member Stacy Cowley, “the issue that each and every one of our members considers a priority.” On Wednesday, management agreed to meet for a sidebar, a less formal meeting without an observer, but no agreement was reached. Her next scheduled meeting is next Tuesday. “We are willing to negotiate earlier if they wish,” Cowley said.

“Hey, AG, I have a guess, give us raises, no lunch box,” protesters chanted on Thursday, referring to the branded lunch boxes Times gave up to get people back to the office. “Hey, Gray Lady, time to pay me.” It’s a “bittersweet day,” Bill Baker, unit chairman Times Guild told the crowd. “We are not happy to be here, but we are here. We’re still here in solidarity — it’s the sweet of the bittersweet.” Guild members said more than 1,100 employees signed a pledge to withhold work for 24 hours. “We organized a small town,” said sports reporter Jenny Vrentas.

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As I reported earlier this week, after receiving the guild’s threatened action, the company’s top management began executing a contingency plan for the strike; Managers had asked writers to submit stories early and were investigating how to pull more stories off the lines to fill anticipated gaps in coverage. “We will produce a robust report on Thursday. But it will be more difficult than usual”, Editor-in-Chief Joe Kahn wrote in one E-mail Wednesday night when the strike became official. To an outside observer, the Times‘ The digital product seemed to hum along on Thursday. But there were some signs of disruption; Stories were penned by The New York Times – including the newspaper’s own story about their one-day strike. The live blog posts are mostly written by international staff who are not part of the guild. Although two prominent journalists at the newspaper’s DC bureau, chief reporter for the White House Peter Baker and White House Correspondent Michael Scher, refused to take part in the day-long work stoppage, Semafor reported, and contributed to Thursday’s report.

During Thursday’s rally, several speakers spoke about the financial health of the Times, and remembering the sacrifices employees made for the company in the past, like furloughs and pay cuts during the financial crisis, to help Times get through “When this paper struggled, we all had to share in its rigor. So when the paper does well, the people who work everywhere to make this place a global phenomenon deserve to share in its success,” said the founder of the 1619 Project Nikole Hannah Jones. “If you compare the cost of our proposal to the $150 million approved for share buybacks this year, then we know we have the money to do this for our lowest-paid employees.” The company has also increased compensation for some top executives this year and increased the dividend payout to shareholders. “We don’t blame them – at least I don’t,” said the long-time editor-in-chief tom coffee “All we’re asking is that the company give us what we deserve and what we’ve earned over the years.”

Times speaker Danielle Rhoades Ha agreed in a statement vanity fair that the guild’s proposal would “incur more than $100 million in additional costs over the life of the contract” and “would make it difficult to sustain our investments in journalism.” Cowley said the company spent “$3.4 million to increase the total compensation of four top executives” in 2021, money that would “cover 2% pay increases for a year – for our entire membership.” Our Chief Executive’s salary increase alone in 2021 would fully offset the cost of our $65,000 salary floor target.”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/12/new-york-times-strike “The Sulzbergers Must Hate This”: Scenes From The New York Times Picket Line


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