Over 1,100 unionized employees of The New York Times went on a limited 24-hour strike on Thursday, Dec. 8, after the company’s management failed to reach an agreement with the union that represents much of the publication’s editorial staff. Hundreds of supporters joined the striking employees, who have not had an established contract since their last one expired in March of 2021, in front of the newspaper’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
In photos: Journalists of The New York Times stage a walkout
New York Times employees went on a 24-hour strike on Dec. 8 after unsuccessful contract negotiations with the publication’s management.
Dec 9, 2022
New York Times journalists have been represented by the NewsGuild of New York union since 1940. The NewsGuild also represents journalists at a number of other publications, including New York magazine, the New York Daily News, and Scholastic, the book publisher. This strike is the publication’s first full day of work stoppage since the late 1970s, though workers staged a brief walkout in 2017 after management fired the newspaper’s dedicated copy-editing team. Despite 40 bargaining sessions and the union’s pledge to walk out for one day if a deal was not reached by Dec. 8, the two parties failed to reach an agreement.
“A lot of our members are going to extraordinary lengths to deliver for the company,” Phoebe Lett, a podcast producer for the newspaper’s opinion section, said. “The least that the company can do is show us appreciation with raises that make it so we can actually live here while the rent is skyrocketing. That would be enough for us to live in New York City and be proud of working for a place like this.”
“We’re under-appreciated,” Patrick McGeehan, a reporter for the newspaper’s metro section, which covers news from New York City, said. “I’m surprised it has come to this. I often felt appreciated — but not anymore.”
Union-affiliated employees — including journalists and staffers at The Times Center (a Times-owned event venue) — have demanded a fair contract, calling for equitable wages that keep pace with inflation and enhanced health care benefits. The New York Times management has refused to accede to the $65,000 salary floor and increase in base pay proposed by the union.
“My colleagues and I work incredibly hard,” said Nancy Wartik, who works as a community moderator for the newspaper’s website. “Times top executives are getting 30-50% raises while we are having to fight to even get a 10% raise and a $65,000 minimum base salary.”
Tom Coffey, a New York Times staff editor, celebrated his 25th anniversary of working at the publication this summer. The Times gifted him a tote bag for the occasion.
“I don’t need knick-knacks,” Coffey said during the strike. “I need a raise.”
Not all New York Times employees are part of the striking union. Software and technology workers, for instance, have their own union, established earlier this year — the Times Tech Guild. As do employees of Wirecutter, the Times’ product review section.
“It’s difficult to watch an institution with a reputation of respect and integrity resort to bad faith tactics and hide behind pricey attorneys,“ said Carrie Price, a senior software engineer at the publication who attended the rally in solidarity with the striking workers. “When something breaks in the tech world, we sit down and discuss how we can improve our systems so that it doesn’t happen again. I’d suggest our senior leaders take time today to review how they failed our Times Guild siblings, and how they can make things better for future negotiations.”
“Your labor is an investment in the mission of The New York Times,” said Susan DeCarava, the president of the NewsGuild of New York. “Now, The New York Times needs to invest in you. Without the work of the Guild and The Times workers, this place is an empty building — it’s a blank page.”