New York Times journalists stage historic 24-hour strike after management and union fail to reach agreement – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – A 24-hour strike at the New York Times, a historic demonstration expected to involve more than 1,100 employees, began at midnight Thursday after management and the union representing employees failed to reach an agreement were able to reach a new contract after more than a year and a half of negotiations.

“It is disappointing that they are taking such drastic action given the clear commitment we have shown to negotiate a deal that offers Times journalists substantial pay increases, market-leading benefits and flexible working arrangements,” Meredith Kopit Levien , President and Chief Executive by The Times, said in an email to the company on Wednesday evening.

The NewsGuild of New York, 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 to reach a fair contractual agreement with workers and their to meet demands. ”

The act of protest, which has not been staged by staff at the prestigious newspaper for decades, will leave many of its key desks out of work, posing a challenge for the news organization relied on by millions of readers.

A Times executive, who asked not to be known so he could speak openly, admitted to CNN on Wednesday that the walkout would certainly cause difficulties. But, the executive said, management has prepared for the moment and can rely on the newspaper’s other resources, such as its international staff, most of whom are not part of the union, to fill in the gaps.

Joe Kahn, editor-in-chief of The Times, said in a note to staff: “We will produce a robust report on Thursday. But it will be more difficult than usual.”

Kopit Levien added in her email to the company that The Times “has plans in place to ensure we meet our obligation to our readers and the public by reporting as fully as possible on any disruption caused by a strike.” to report”.

But some The Times staffers on Wednesday even went so far as to urge readers not to consume the outlet’s content during the strike.

“We ask readers not to participate [New York Times] Platforms tomorrow and join us on the digital picket line!” wrote Amanda Hess, a major critic of the paper, on Twitter. “Read local news. Listen to public radio. Make something out of a cookbook. Break your wordle streak.”

The strike comes as the Gray Lady and the NewsGuild of New York are at odds on a range of issues, particularly wages, amid layoffs and cuts across the media industry.

In recent weeks, CNN laid off hundreds of employeesnewspaper chain Gannett has cut 200 employees, NPR said it needs to find $10 million in savings, and other news organizations have examined the need to cut budgets and freeze hiring.

The Times has claimed that it offered the guild “significant increases”, but the union countered that the newspaper’s management “frequently misrepresented its own proposals”.

The Union Times, a newsletter published by the NewsGuild, on Wednesday described the Times’ wage concessions as “paltry” and said management had “hardly moved” on the issue.

The two parties have been negotiating since the last contract expired in March 2021. Last Friday, the NewsGuild informed The Times of its plans to go on strike, a move aimed at putting pressure on management to offer additional concessions in the negotiations.

The union has asked The Times to meet midway through wage increases, but the newspaper believes the union started from an extreme position, making this a non-starter.

Both sides have been working all week to avert the 24-hour strike. But it was in vain.

The Times’ management was frustrated by the way the NewsGuild had attempted to negotiate and blamed them in part for the lack of progress.

“They refuse to meet in person,” the executive told CNN. “That’s a really important point. I can’t stress it enough. We have negotiations about Zoom. There are about eight people from senior management, up to 18 people from the NewsGuild bargaining committee and up to 200 union members watching as ‘observers’.”

“The negotiations are essentially public,” the executive continued. “And that changes the whole negotiation dynamic. It’s going to be very performative and very theatrical. It’s really hard to get things done. It’s like a show. And we need productive negotiations to reach an agreement.”

Susan DeCarava, President of the NewsGuild of New York, responded: “Union democracy is critical to union power. That is why we are not conducting negotiations behind closed doors, which management continues to demand.”

“All members who will be affected by the decision made at the negotiating table should be made aware of these discussions,” the representative added. “When Times management comes to the negotiating table with their insulting and disrespectful offers, they have to explain it to a roomful of their own employees – and they hate it. The result of management’s public actions is the powerful strike taking place tomorrow.”

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Sarah Y. Kim

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