Hundreds of journalists and other staff members are preparing to take a 24-hour strike on Thursday, the first of its sort at the New York Times in more than 40 years.
The NewsGuild of New York’s newsroom staff and other union members claim they are tired of the protracted negotiations that have taken place since their previous contract expired in March 2021.
More than 1,100 workers will launch a 24-hour work stoppage beginning at 12:01 a.m., the union stated last week. Unless both parties agree to a contract, Thursday.
The parties were at odds on several issues, including pay raises and laws governing remote work, for more than 12 hours into late Tuesday and Wednesday.
Stacy Cowley, a financial reporter and union representative stated, “It’s looking very probable that we are walking on Thursday.” “There is still a big gap between us on many subjects, including the economy.”
Uncertainty remained on how the day’s reporting would be impacted, although the fast-paced live-news desk, which covers breaking news for the digital paper, is among the strike’s backers. A protest organized by the staff is scheduled for Thursday in front of the Times Square offices of the newspaper.
According to Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the New York Times, the firm has “strong strategies in place” to keep creating material, including using foreign correspondents and other journalists who are not union members.
Rhoades Ha said in a second statement, “While we are saddened that the NewsGuild is threatening to strike, we are ready to guarantee that The Times continues to serve our readers without hindrance.
The planned walkout, which would be the first by the bargaining unit since 1981, was described as “puzzling” and “an unsettling point in negotiations over a new contract” by Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy in a note issued to Guild-represented personnel on Tuesday evening.
However, the NewsGuild claimed in a statement signed by over 1,000 workers that management had been “dragging its feet” in contract negotiations for almost two years and that “time is running out to negotiate a fair deal” by the end the year.
The NewsGuild further claimed that the employer informed workers who planned to strike that they would not be paid during the strike. Members were reportedly asked to put in extra time to complete their work before the strike.
Other, shorter walkouts have occurred at The New York Times in recent years, including a half-day demonstration in August by a newly formed union representing technology workers who complained of unfair labor practices.
One notable development, hailed by both parties, was the company’s withdrawal of its proposal to replace the current flexible pension scheme with an improved 401 (k) retirement plan.
The Times proposed that the union pick one out of the two options instead. The business also consented to increase benefits for fertility treatments.
According to Levy, the business has pledged to increase pay by 5.5% if approved, with subsequent hikes of 3% in 2023 and 2024. That would be more than the 2.2% annual raises in the contract about to expire.
To make up for the pay hikes that were missed during the previous two years, Cowley said that the union would receive 10% pay raises at ratification.
Additionally, she stated that the firm wants the authority to call workers back to the office full-time while the union wants the contract to guarantee employees the choice to work remotely occasionally, provided their roles permit it.
According to Cowley, the Times has obliged employees to work three days per week, but many have come in less frequently as a kind of informal protest.