NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Times is planning a 24-hour walkout Thursday by hundreds of reporters and other employees, which would be the first walkout of its kind in more than 40 years.
Newsroom workers and other members of The NewsGuild of New York say they are fed up with what has been going on since their last contract expired in March 2021. The union announced last week that more than 1,100 workers will be on strike for 24 hours to begin. at 12:01 am on Thursday unless the two sides reach an agreement.
Negotiations took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the sides remained far apart on issues including wage increases and remote work policies.
On Wednesday evening the union said via Twitter that an agreement had not been reached and the move was ongoing. “We were prepared to work long hours to reach an agreement,” it said, “but management walked away from the table with five hours to go.”
“We know what we are worth,” the agency added.
But New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said she was still in negotiations when she was told the strike was taking place.
“It’s disappointing that they’re going to extremes when we haven’t bothered,” he said.
BREAKING NEWS: Senate votes to defund railroads but refuses to grant paid leave
It is unclear how Thursday’s coverage will be affected, but those supporting the strike include members for a fast-paced live news desk, featuring leading news on digital paper. Workers were planning a rally that evening outside the newspaper’s offices near Times Square.
Rhoades Ha told The Associated Press that the company “has strong intentions” to continue producing content, including relying on international media and other media outlets that are not members of the union.
In a letter sent to union employees Tuesday night, Deputy Editor Cliff Levy called the planned strike “extraordinary” and a “disruptive time in negotiating a new contract.” He said this would be the first time the bargaining unit has been ignored since 1981 and “comes despite the company’s efforts to move forward.”
But in a letter written by more than 1,000 employees, NewsGuild said the directors have been “dragging” negotiations for almost two years and “time is running out to reach a good deal” by the end of the year.
The NewsGuild also reported the company told employees in preparation for the strike they would not be paid for the duration of the walk. Members were also asked to work overtime to make it to work before the deadline, according to the union.
The New York Times has seen other short-term protests in recent years, including a half-day protest in August by a new union representing tech workers who say they face unfair labor practices.
In a move that both sides said was important, the company rejected its proposal to replace the existing pension plan with an additional 401(k) retirement plan. The Times offered instead to let the union choose between the two. The company also agreed to expand fertility treatment benefits.
Levy said the company also offered to raise wages by 5.5 percent if the contract is approved, followed by 3 percent increases in 2023 and 2024. That would be an increase from the 2.2 percent a year in the expired contract.
Stacy Cowley, a financial reporter and union representative, said the union is seeking a 10 percent raise in endorsements, which she said would make up for a raise it hasn’t received in the past two years.
He said the union wants the union to guarantee workers can work remotely at times, if their responsibilities allow, but the company wants the right to stop workers at all times. Cowley said the Times wants its staff to be on duty three days a week but many don’t appear regularly on the traditional show.