More than 100 employees of The New York Times and their supporters gathered outside of the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan for a rally on Tuesday, Nov. 16, to protest the company’s alleged anti-union tactics and contract delays.
The rally was held in support of three New York Times unions: the Wirecutter Union, Times Tech Guild and Times Guild. The group of protesters spoke out against the company’s refusal to meet pay rates requested by the Wirecutter Union and Times Guild and to recognize the Tech Guild, which formed in April.
“We have been fed up,” Kathy Zhang, the senior manager of the newsroom and product analytics at The New York Times, said. “It’s a pattern of anti-union activity and union-busting that we’ve seen at the Times.”
Members of the Wirecutter Union, who are employees of the company’s product review section, have been bargaining with The New York Times’ management team for the past two years to negotiate their first contract. The union has been unsuccessful in demanding higher pay, capped healthcare cost increases, and a ban on non-disclosure agreements in discrimination and harassment cases. The company countered with an annual 1% raise and rejected the other two proposals, according to The NewsGuild of New York.
The Wirecutter Union plans to strike the week of Black Friday if it does not reach a tentative agreement with management beforehand. Since management has refused to meet with the union before Dec. 3, the unions are urging New York Times readers to not shop on the New York Times website from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.
“I’m not privy to the actual dollar amount, but I do know it is the most profitable time of the entire year for us,” Sarah Kobos, the senior photo editor at Wirecutter and interim vice chair of the Wirecutter Union, said. “We want fair wages for our workers. Right now, the yearly increase they are proposing is much less than inflation.”
The New York Times management has refused the Times Tech Guild’s request for recognition as a union. The company also rejected the guild’s proposal of an online election, despite having support from 70% of the guild. In August, the guild participated in a half-day walkout to protest the company’s refusals and counter-offers.
“When we filed with the NLRB for the election, they pulled out legal maneuvers to try to claim that we don’t work closely together,” Zhang said. “They basically said that this 600 person unit needs to be cut down to 300 people because that’s the amount of engineers we have.”
The Times Guild, which represents editorial and business workers, has also been bargaining for pay increases and a remote work option since its contract expired in March 2021. A contract negotiation session scheduled for October was canceled by The New York Times’ management.
Contact Gianna Jirak at [email protected]