Strike for wages at the New York Times, a first in 40 years

New York Times wage strike, first in 40 years

UPDATE DAY

A first in 40 years at the New York Times: more than a thousand workers are on strike Thursday for 24 hours to demand substantial increases, in a context of inflation and soaring cost of living in New York. 

Some 1,100 journalists and other employees of the prestigious daily, which sets the tone for news and coverage in the United States and abroad, stopped work Thursday at midnight until Friday at the same time, after the negotiations over wages and the collective agreement have failed, according to the NewsGuild of New York press union.

Hundreds of people of all ages and statuses gathered Thursday afternoon outside the gigantic headquarters of the New York Times Company in western Manhattan in a protesting and festive atmosphere.

According to the press union, NewsGuild, one of the points of contention is management's refusal to raise wages significantly for almost two years, in a national and global inflationary context and while the New York Times Company, a publicly traded company, is financially successful.

“Penalizing the workers”

“The leaders of the New York Times are celebrating their financial success while penalizing the workers”, thundered the union organization in a leaflet, rejoicing that “more than 1,100 employees have now stopped working, a first of this magnitude in four decades” .

“The company doesn't treat unionized employees very well. We have been without a collective agreement for 20 months, we have all worked non-stop during the Covid, 20 hours a day, including weekends, and without any increase”, protested to AFP Albert Sun, graphic designer from 34 who has worked at the NYT for 11 years.

For her colleague Phoebe Lett, you have to fight to “get a minimum salary of $55,000 a year (gross and before taxes)”.

  • Listen to the economic column with economist Francis Gosselin at the microphone of Mario Dumont on QUB radio :

“Dream job”< /strong>

“It is important because the company wants you to work in a city where daily life is very expensive. I have colleagues who have a second job to keep this one, which is a dream job, “said this 31-year-old podcast producer to AFP.

On an improvised platform in front of the New York Times building, employee representatives forcefully claimed, sometimes in song, the fact of “making the newspaper” and therefore of being the source of the company's profits, and demanded be “paid at (their) fair value”.

The New York Times Company published in November a turnover for the 3rd quarter of 2022 of 547 million dollars against 509 million for the same period of 2021, up 7.6% year on year. But quarterly net profit is down 33% year on year ($36 million this year compared to $54 million in 2021).

In a press release, management recalled that salary negotiations had not failed and that it was “disappointing that (employees) would take extreme action when we are not at an impasse”.

Threat

She claimed to have proposed a general wage increase of “11.5%” over three years from the signing of a new collective agreement. 

While threatening: “The proposal of the NewsGuild, which would add more than $100 million in costs, would make it difficult to sustain our investments in journalism.” With its 1,700 employees, eight million subscribers and some 150 million readers per month, the NYT, a monument of the written press rather classified on the left, has recovered perfectly and adapted to the digital age with its website, his videos, his podcasts…

The movement should not prevent the publication of the daily on Friday: “During the walkout, the non-unionized employees of the newsroom will be largely responsible for the production of information”, according to an article in the newspaper.

Protesters have not ruled out continuing the movement beyond Friday and a spokeswoman for the newspaper said that a new session of negotiations was planned next Tuesday.