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Well They Did It: The Writers of The New York Times Walked Out Today

Well They Did It: The Writers of The New York Times Walked Out Today

The New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien received a letter signed by more than 1,000 employees. The letter was from from Bill Baker, unit chair of the Times guild that stated there would be a walk out for one day if a deal was not reached by Thursday, December 8th. The subject line was  “Enough.”

Represented by The NewsGuild of New York, the workers are fighting for are wages that recognize all the work they do and keep pace with inflation, as well as sustainable health care and retirement benefits. After nearly two years of bargaining, management is only offering 2.75 percent in average annual guaranteed base-pay raises. However, from 2020 to 2021, the most recent year for which there are public filings, the company’s top three executives had an annual increase in compensation of 32.3%. According to Guild members, if the company were to meet their salary floor demand of $65,000, the additional cost would be less than the latest increase in CEO Meredith Kopit Levien’s compensation alone.

In June, more than 900 Times Guild employees sent a letter to new executive editor Joe Kahn urging him for a substantive response to the Guild’s wage proposals.

Workers at The Times have also highlighted the company’s egregious spending on stock buybacks. In February, nearly a year into bargaining for a contract renewal, the New York Times Company authorized a stock buyback of $150 million, which is more than the additional costs of the Guild’s entire package of proposals over the complete life of the contract.

Well today New York Times employees walked off the job. Outside the Times’s Midtown Manhattan offices, employees waved protest signs next to an inflatable rat, chanting, “We make the paper, we make the profits.”

Members of the New York Times Guild, covers about 1,400 workers, including non-newsroom departments such as advertising and security, said the 24-hour protest action was the culmination of months of frustration over contract negotiations.

Journalists such as sports reporter Jenny Vrentas, investigative reporter Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, investigative and politics correspondent Nick Confessore  and Annie Karni who tweeted  “A news alert with my name on it just went out.” This was  about her story on the congressional approval of a same-sex marriage bill. “It was a pre-written story ahead of an expected vote. I stand with the guild!”

Others stayed on the job, including two White House reporters, who are covered the breaking news about Brittney Griner’s negotiated release from a Russian prison.

 

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Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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