After stalled talks, New York Times journalists go on strike

Taking a defiant stand, a whole bunch of New York Times journalists refused to work Thursday — the biggest journalist-led labor motion on the nation’s main newspaper in additional than 40 years.

The New York Times Guild’s 24-hour strike highlighted the mounting frustration of writers, editors, on-line producers, safety guards and different staffers over the gradual tempo of negotiations for a brand new contract. The final contract expired in March 2021, and guild leaders this week stated that “the company’s failure to bargain in good faith” prompted their walkout.

“We are deeply committed to the success of the paper. … [But] today, for the first time in decades, we’re fulfilling that mission in a different way,” the newspaper’s guild and its native, the NewsGuild of New York, stated in a letter to readers.

The publication’s administration, nevertheless, disputed that it slow-walked a deal protecting 1,450 guild members.

“It’s disappointing that they’re taking such drastic action, given the clear commitment we’ve shown to negotiate our way to a contract that provides Times journalists with substantial pay increases, market-leading benefits, and flexible working conditions,” New York Times Co. Chief Government Meredith Kopit Levien wrote in a Wednesday night time message to the workers.

Government Editor Joseph Kahn, in a separate electronic mail to the newsroom, wrote: “Strikes typically happen when talks deadlock. That is not where we are today.”

Negotiations have been ongoing for 20 months. New York Times journalists have demanded a ten% pay bump at contract ratification (to compensate staff who went two years with out a elevate) and 5.5% will increase in 2023 and 2024. They’ve requested for a minimal annual wage of $65,000, citing the excessive price of residing in New York.

New York Times journalists and different workers picket exterior the newspaper’s workplace, pissed off by ongoing contract talks.

(Julia Nikhinson / Related Press)

Talks have additionally touched on retirement and different advantages, in addition to a proposal to part out the corporate’s pension plan. Some journalists additionally need to proceed to do business from home as they’ve all through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tensions on the New York Times echo clashes nationwide.

Members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh are within the seventh week of a strike towards the Pittsburgh Put up-Gazette. The group went on strike in early October after rejecting a brand new worker medical insurance plan imposed by administration. Journalists with the Fort Price Star-Telegram in Texas, a part of a series owned by hedge fund Chatham Asset Administration, went on strike final month.

Employees at Starbucks and Amazon even have sought to kind unions.

The New York Times’ union introduced its intent to strike every week in the past, giving managers time to stockpile tales and alter manufacturing schedules. Press staff continued on the job, which enabled print editions to be delivered with out interruption.

“We will produce a robust report on Thursday,” Kahn stated in an electronic mail to workers. “But it will be harder than usual.”

The newsroom boasts greater than 1,800 staff and greater than 1,100 signed walk-out pledges. Worldwide reporters largely aren’t lined by the contract.

For the report:

7:28 p.m. Dec. 8, 2022An earlier model of this story stated tech writers detailed the Federal Commerce Fee’s lawsuit to dam Microsoft’s deliberate buy of online game firm Activision. The writers wrote the story previous to Thursday in anticipation of the information.

Not the entire newspaper’s journalists participated within the walkout. Distinguished Washington reporters supplied in-depth protection of the prisoner swap with Russia that freed basketball star Brittney Griner.

Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York, which incorporates the newspaper’s guild, didn’t have a exact variety of journalists who participated. The publication declined to supply a determine. DeCarava stated she obtained pledges that at the very least 80% of its members supported the motion. Co-workers had despatched photographs from their telephones of a largely empty newsroom, she stated.

A woman holding a microphone speaks to a crowd.

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks exterior the publication’s workplace Thursday throughout a walkout.

(Julia Nikhinson / Related Press)

Throughout a Thursday afternoon rally, greater than 150 union members and supporters crowded in entrance of the publication’s headquarters at eighth Avenue and fortieth Road in Manhattan.

Photographers and union members have been hanging off the metal scaffolding in entrance of the constructing to get a greater view. A large inflatable snarling rat — a mascot at union job actions in New York and different cities — stood alongside the speaker lectern. Its identify: Scabby.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of “The 1619 Project” and one of many nation’s journalism stars, spoke.

“I was a worker who couldn’t afford to pay my bills off a newspaper salary,” Hannah-Jones stated in an interview. “I know how hard it is for so many of my co-workers here who may be intimidated to speak out. So it was important for me to show solidarity and to argue on behalf of my colleagues.”

After almost an hour of remarks, workers marched with indicators and have been led in solidarity chants by a small drum corps.

The final important work stoppage by New York Times journalists was a 24-day strike in 1965. There was an 88-day walkout by pressmen in 1978. Three years later, the newsroom guild struck for about six hours.

Thursday’s job motion comes amid an growth of the NewsGuild, a part of the Communications Employees of America. It has been rising steadily since journalists on the Los Angeles Times voted in early 2018 to create the publication’s first newsroom union in its 140-year historical past.

Union exercise has intensified as youthful journalists step into management roles, unafraid to problem their bosses over compensation and problems with work-life stability. The development follows years of monetary squeezes.

Newspapers have seen promoting income dramatically decline as readers migrate to Fb, Twitter and TikTok.

The shift has created “news deserts” in lots of native communities, a drought that accelerated in the course of the pandemic. Papers have withered or folded, some lowering circulation days. Journalists nonetheless working have put in longer hours and juggled extra assignments to compensate for colleagues who have been laid off or took buyouts.

“Low wages, hostile working conditions and a hemorrhaging industry have pushed journalists to the brink,” the Fort Price union stated in its strike announcement.

A woman in a crowd holds a sign calling for "Fair Wages."

The New York Times is experiencing its greatest labor dispute in additional than 40 years.

(Julia Nikhinson / Related Press)

The New York Times is among the many world’s most financially affluent newspapers. It’s extensively seen because the mannequin for transitioning from a day by day print version to a vibrant on-line report. New York Times Co. ended the newest fiscal quarter with greater than 9 million paid subscribers and income features.

It reported whole income for the third quarter of $547.7 million, up 7.6% from the year-earlier interval.

The corporate has been increasing. This yr, it paid $550 million in money to amass the Athletic, the sports activities information web site. It purchased the web phrase puzzle Wordle. On Thursday, putting journalists known as on readers to forgo their day by day Wordle repair.

On the rally, audio system emphasised how New York Times Co. has touted its success to Wall Road and buyers, elevating its shareholder dividend and asserting a $150-million inventory buyback program. But, the newsroom workers has gone two years with out a pay enhance.

The corporate is “on track for annual operating profit of at least $320 million,” the guild famous in its letter.

“We know what we have done for the New York Times in terms of keeping our paper afloat and making it really profitable and our top executives are getting huge amounts of compensation that have been increased by huge percentage points in the last year and they won’t give the workers in the trenches a 10 percent raise,” stated Nancy Wartik, who works within the viewers division on the Times.

The newspaper’s Kopit Levien acknowledged the corporate’s success however stated that 40% of income nonetheless comes from the print product.

“We are succeeding mightily in many ways, yet our transformation is not complete,” Kopit Levien stated. “Our profits have yet to catch up to where they were a couple of decades ago. And we continue to compete fiercely in a highly dynamic digital environment for subscribers and advertisers — now against a backdrop of intensifying economic pressure and uncertainty.”

In the meantime, the Wall Road Journal, the archrival owned by Rupert Murdoch, dropped its paywall, permitting customers to learn its tales without spending a dime for in the future.

Battaglio reported from New York and James from Los Angeles.