Bored New York Times employees say there is a “very good chance” they will go on strike as they continue to grapple with management in an effort to secure a raise amid messy contract negotiations.
On Monday, about 1,300 employees represented by NewsGuild pledged to work from home as the Gray Lady tried to get them back into the office. Anger has peaked over the lengthy collective bargaining process, as employees have not received a raise since March 2020.
Hundreds of employees sent emotional letters to publisher AG Sulzberger, executive editor Joe Kahn, CEO Meredith Kopit Levien and opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury, protesting the company’s pay structure — including an employee who confessed that they had to start DoorDash deliveries to earn meeting money.
And some of the newspaper’s famous reporters took part.
“When I started in Times in 2014, my salary was $128,000,” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Emily Steel wrote in one of the letters collected and reviewed by Confider. “Since then, I have been negotiating for two performance-based raises. However, adjusted for inflation, my salary is now the same as it was when I started in 2014. And since contract negotiations began in 2020, my salary is worth less than $17,000. ”
In another scathing note, reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs wrote: “ recent union by the CEO, probably endorsed by the publisher and never (publicly) questioned by the editorial board, was a real blow and made me feel morally depressed when continue to work here. Delaying salary negotiations with a union has long done the same.”
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Times columnist Ginia Bellafante was similarly poignant in her letter: “Many of us are frustrated by the emphasis on ‘perks’ — wellness initiatives, birthday announcements, global holidays, etc — which today, seems to be merely PR, covering up underpaid and expensive (and jargon-obsessed) consultants’ products. ”
Among the “perks” the article offered to employees in lieu of a raise: a Times– Branded lunch box for people entering the office. “Our hope is that they will be a connecting point to bring all of our colleagues together around a common theme: lunchtime,” Times co wrote in a recent memo obtained and reviewed by Confider.
The staff members who spoke to us all had the feeling that the newspaper was appreciating their work and tearing them apart. These employees all said a strike may be their only option.
Sports reporter Kevin Draper told Confider: “The company has money and people are getting shares, stocks, dividends and higher wages. “The widespread feeling is that workers make sacrifices when times are bad, but the company has made millions of dollars for their work and they should be compensated with a realistic salary proposition and they don’t. somewhere nearby.”
One Times The spokesperson wrote in response: “We respect the right of our Association colleagues to have their voices heard… We are proud to offer one of the highest compensation packages in our industry. we and we also boast a large and growing newsroom. We are actively working with the NYT NewsGuild to reach a collective bargaining agreement that financially rewards our journalists for their contributions to the success of The Times, financially responsible. precisely because the company is still in growth mode and continues to take the landscape industry into account.”
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