‘New York Times’ employees strike over pay raise

For the first time in four decades, more than a thousand employees of the newspaper “New York Times” (NYT) declared themselves in a 24-hour strike, this Thursday, to demand a salary increase, in the face of the skyrocketing of inflation and the consequent increase of the cost of living in the city.

About 1,100 journalists and other employees of the temple of world journalism have sat in their arms over the lack of agreement on wages in the new collective agreement, according to the New York-based NewsGuild union.

Hundreds of people of all ranks and ages gathered today in front of the imposing headquarters of the New York Times Company, in Manhattan, in a demanding yet peaceful environment. According to NewsGuild, one of the sticking points is management’s resistance to significantly raising wages two years ago, despite the company, traded on Wall Street, being financially prosperous.

– ‘Punish the employees’ –

“The directors of the New York Times celebrate financial achievements, while punishing workers”, protested the union, celebrating that “more than 1,100 employees have stopped working, an unprecedented fact in four decades”.

“The company does not treat unionized employees very well. We have been without a collective agreement for 20 months, we have worked non-stop during the pandemic, 20 hours a day, including weekends, and without a raise”, complained graphic designer Albert Sun , 34, who has worked for the newspaper for 11 years.

For her colleague Phoebe Lett, 31, a podcast producer, you have to fight “to get a minimum of $65,000 a year (gross). It’s important, because the company wants us to work in a very expensive city. I have colleagues with a second job to keep this one, which is a dream job,” he told AFP.

– Results –

According to the results for the third quarter, released in November, the company recorded a turnover of 547 million dollars, against 509 million in the same period of 2021, which represents an increase of 7.6%. Quarterly net income fell 33% in one year, from US$ 54 million in 2021 to US$ 36 million currently.

The management pointed out that the salary negotiations did not fail, and that “it is disappointing that they resort to extreme actions despite the fact that we are not at a dead end”.

With 1,700 employees, 8 million subscribers and about 150 million monthly readers, the NYT, temple of the center-left print media, has recovered and adapted to the digital age with its website and its videos and podcasts.

The strike should not prevent the publication of this Friday’s edition. According to an article published in the newspaper’s digital edition, during the strike “non-union newsroom employees will be largely responsible for news production.”

Some protesters do not rule out extending the strike, although a spokeswoman for the newspaper said a new round of talks was scheduled for Tuesday.

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© Agence France-Presse

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