New York Times workers stage walk out to protest collective bargaining

NEW YORK — More than 300 journalists and media workers collectively walked out of the workplace for about ten minutes on Monday to protest contract negotiations between their union and management of the New York Times.

Those who walked are members of the Newspaper Guild of New York. The afternoon’s exercise occurred during workers’ regular break-time.

Earlier in the day, Guild members received a memo which declared, “There is no longer any time to waste,” and urged members to begin a series of actions to make sure the company knows the workers mean business.

The memo stated that for the past year and a half, Times negotiators “have offered us the same poisoned chalice: perpetually shrinking compensation.”

So far, the Times insists that the workers’ pension plan must be frozen, refuses to contribute to the health care plan and offers only 1.5% in pay increases for the next three years. The Guild figures that effectively diminishes workers’ pay by about $15,000 each per year.

The Guild also reported to its members that the company is planning to seek separate contracts for digital and print journalists.  This is viewed as a way to dismantle unity in the newsroom.

By late afternoon, 630 Guild employees had signed a letter to Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and Executive Editor Jill Abramson, calling proposed contract changes “untenable and destructive.”

Contract negotiations are expected to resume tomorrow and continue through Thursday.

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer