Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Labor Fight Demoralizing NYTimes Newsroom

Staffers at the New York Times are openly discussing the possibility of a work stoppage as talks with management have reportedly hit an impasse over the union’s demands for a salary hike.

The NY Post reports the guild representing journalists at the newspaper also wants management to commit to an 8% annual salary increase year-over-year for a period of four years.  But management has countered with a significantly smaller hike — a 4% increase for the first year followed by a 2% boost for the following two years, according to Insider.  Management has also offered an additional 1% merit-based pay hike.

The labor strife is exacerbating tensions between rank-and-file Times staffers and management, who have been at loggerheads over the newspaper’s return-to-office demands.

The Post reported earlier this month that more than 1,300 newsroom staffers signed a pledge vowing to defy management’s edict to return to their Midtown Manhattan cubicles for a minimum of three days a week.

If management caves to the guild’s wage hike demands, it would imperil the company’s ability to plow more investments into the newspaper’s journalism, according to the spokesperson.

The union, which is also asking for cost-of-living adjustments on top of its salary demands, has rejected management’s offer, saying the proposed hikes are tantamount to a pay cut given the soaring levels of inflation, Insider is reporting.

Kevin Draper, a sports reporter for the Times, told Insider that the union’s demands were “eminently reasonable.” He also noted that the publicly shared company has paid out handsome rewards to executives as well as dividends to stockholders.

New York Times Guild negotiators have reminded management that the Gray Lady’s finances are sound given the fact that the publication has 10 million paid subscribers.

The New York Times Company has also dipped into its mountain of cash reserves to make some high-profile acquisitions including the all-sports news site The Athletic as well as the popular game Wordle.

Last month, the news site Axios reported that the Times generated $1.4 billion in subscription revenues for 2021 in addition to $497.5 million in advertising revenue during that same period.

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