The 24-hour strike at The New York Times, a historic rally with more than 1,100 employees expected to take part, will take effect at midnight Thursday, after management and the public The union representing employees failed to reach an agreement on a new contract after several strikes. more than a year and a half of negotiations.
“It is disappointing that they have taken such drastic action, based on the clear commitment we have shown in negotiating a contract to provide Times journalists with substantial salary increases. , market-leading benefits and flexible working conditions,” Meredith Kopit Levien, president and chief executive officer of The Times, said in an email to the company Wednesday night.
New York’s NewsGuild, which represents journalists and other employees of The Times, said in a statement that the strike was “due to the company’s failure to negotiate in good faith, reaching a fair contractual agreement.” employees and respond to their requests. ”
The protest action, which has not been organized by staff at the paper’s record for decades, will drain many of the newspaper’s main desks, creating a challenge for the news organization. trusted by millions of readers.
An executive at The Times, who requested anonymity to speak frankly, admitted to CNN on Wednesday that the shutdown would inevitably create hardship. However, the executive said, management is ready at the moment and can rely on the newspaper’s other resources, such as the newspaper’s international staff, which are largely non-members. of the alliance, to fill the void.
Joe Kahn, executive editor of The Times, said in a note to staff, “We will be releasing a strong report on Thursday. But it will be harder than usual.”
Kopit Levien added in her email to the company that The Times has “plans in place to ensure that we meet our obligations to our readers and the public by reporting as fully as possible.” through any disruption caused by the strike”.
But some employees of The Times went further on Wednesday, urging readers not to view the store’s contents during the walk.
“We ask our readers not to participate in any [New York Times] platforms tomorrow and stand with us on the digital fence!,” wrote Amanda Hess, an all-round reviewer of the newspaper, on Twitter. “Read the local news. Listen to public radio. Make something out of a cookbook. Break your Wordle record.
The strike comes as the Gray Lady and New York’s NewsGuild remain at odds over a number of issues, particularly wages, amid layoffs and cuts in the media industry.
In recent weeks, CNN lays off hundreds of employeesNewspaper chain Gannett cuts 200 employees, NPR says it will need to find $10 million in savings and other news organizations explored the need for budget cuts and a hiring freeze.
The Times has asserted that it has given the association a “significant boost”, but the union countered that the newspaper’s management had “regularly misrepresented its own proposals”.
Union Times, a newsletter published by NewsGuild, described The Times’ wage concessions on Wednesday as “vile” and said management “barely budged” on the matter.
The two sides have been negotiating since the last contract expired in March 2021. Last Friday, NewsGuild informed The Times of its plans to hold a strike, a move intended to put pressure on management to offer additional concessions in the negotiations.
The union had asked The Times to meet midway through the pay increase, but the paper believes the union had started from an extreme point of view, making doing so unlikely to begin.
Both sides worked throughout the week to stop the 24-hour strike. But it was to no avail.
Management at The Times has become frustrated with the way NewsGuild has sought to conduct negotiations and is partly to blame for its lack of progress.
The CEO told CNN: “They refused to meet face-to-face. “That’s a really important point. I cannot emphasize it enough. We have Zoom talks. There are about eight people from management, up to 18 people on the bargaining committee from NewsGuild and up to 200 union members watching as ‘observers’.”
“Negotiations are essentially public,” the executive continued. “And that changes the whole dynamic of the negotiations. It became very performant and very theatrical. It’s really hard to get the job done. It’s like a show. And we need effective negotiations to come to an agreement.”
Susan DeCarava, president of New York’s NewsGuild, responded, “The democracy of the federation is crucial to the strength of the federation. That’s why we don’t negotiate in private, which management continues to demand.”
The representative added: “All members who will be affected by the decision made at the bargaining table should keep such discussions confidential. “When Times management comes to the bargaining table with their insulting and disrespectful offers, they have to explain it in front of a room full of their employees—and they hate it. The result of the management’s public actions is a strong strike tomorrow.”