NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Times is preparing for a 24-hour walkout Thursday by hundreds of journalists and other employees, what would be the first strike of its kind at the newspaper in more than 40 years.
Newsroom employees and other members of The NewsGuild in New York say they are fed up with bargaining that has dragged on since their last contract expired in March 2021. The union announced last week that more than 1,100 employees will hold a 24-hour work stoppage starting at 12:01 am Thursday unless the two sides reach a contract deal.
Negotiations took place on Tuesday and some on Wednesday, but the sides remained far apart on issues including wage increases and remote work policies.
On Wednesday night the union said via Twitter that an agreement had not been reached and the walkout was taking place. “We are ready to work as long as necessary to reach a fair agreement,” it said, “but management walked away from the table with five hours left.”
“We know what we are worth,” the union added.
But New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement that they were still negotiating when they were told the strike was happening.
“It’s disappointing that they’re taking such drastic action when we’re not at an impasse,” he said.
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It’s unclear how Thursday’s coverage will be affected, but supporters of the strike are involved members on the fast-paced live-news desk, covering breaking news for the digital paper. Employees planned a rally for that afternoon outside the newspaper’s offices near Times Square.
Rhoades Ha told The Associated Press that the company has “firm plans” to continue producing content, including relying on international reporters and other non-union journalists.
In a letter sent to union-represented workers Tuesday night, Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy called the planned strike “confusing” and “a confusing moment in negotiations over a bag contract.” He said it was the first strike at the bargaining unit since 1981 and “comes despite the company’s intensified efforts to improve.”
but in a letter signed by more than 1,000 employees, the NewsGuild said management has been “dragging its feet” in bargaining for nearly two years and “time is running out to reach a fair contract ” at the end of the year.
The NewsGuild said the same the company told employees are planning to strike they will not be paid for the duration of the walkout. Members are also being asked to work overtime to finish the job before the strike, according to the union.
The New York Times has seen other, shorter walkouts in recent years, including a half-day protest in August by a new union representing tech workers that claimed no fair labor practices.
In a breakthrough that both sides called significant, the company withdrew its proposal to replace the current adjustable pension plan with an enhanced 401(k) retirement plan. The Times instead offered to let the union choose between the two. The company also agreed to expand its fertility treatment benefits.
Levy said the company also offered to raise wages by 5.5 percent after the ratification of the contract, followed by 3 percent increases in 2023 and 2024. That’s up from a 2.2 percent annual increase in the expired contract. contract.
Stacy Cowley, a financial reporter and union representative, said the union is asking for a 10 percent wage increase in ratification, which she said would make up for raises that have not been received in the past two years.
He also said the union wants the contract to guarantee employees the option to work remotely for certain hours, if their roles allow it, but the company wants the right to bring back office workers full-time. os time. Cowley said the Times required its staff to be in the office three days a week but many showed up less often than an informal protest.