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NYT journalists and workers on 24-hour strike for a ‘better newsroom’

Hundreds of journalists and other New York Times employees went on a 24-hour strike, the first such strike at the newspaper in more than 40 years.

Newsroom employees and other members of The NewsGuild of New York, the union of news professionals in the US media capital, said they were fed up with negotiations that have dragged on since their last contract expired. contract in March 2021.

The union announced last week that more than 1,100 employees would go on a 24-hour work stoppage starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. [05:01 GMT] unless the two parties reach a contract agreement.

NewsGuild tweeted Thursday morning that workers are “now officially on strike, the first of this scale at the company in 4 decades.”

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“It’s never an easy decision to say no to doing the job you love, but our members are willing to do whatever it takes to win a better newsroom for all,” he said.

Negotiations took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the parties stayed apart on issues including wage increases and remote work policies.

On Wednesday night, the union said via Twitter that no agreement had been reached and the strike was taking place. “We were ready to work for as long as it took to reach a fair deal,” he said, “but management walked away from the table with five hours to go.

“We know our worth,” the union added.

New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement that they were still in negotiations when they were told the strike was taking place.

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“It is disappointing that they are taking such extreme action when we are not at an impasse,” he said.

It was unclear how Thursday’s coverage would be affected, but strike supporters include members of the fast-paced live news desk, which covers breaking news for the digital newspaper.

The employees were planning a rally for that afternoon in front of the newspaper’s offices near Times Square.

Rhoades Ha told The Associated Press that the company has “solid plans in place” to continue producing content, including relying on international reporters and other journalists who are not union members.

In a note sent to union-represented staff late Tuesday, deputy managing editor Cliff Levy called the planned strike “perplexing” and “an unsettling moment in new contract negotiations.”

He said it would be the bargaining unit’s first strike since 1981 and “comes despite intensified efforts by the company to move forward.”

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But in a letter signed by more than 1,000 employees, NewsGuild said management has been negotiating “slowly” for nearly two years and “time is running out to reach a fair contract” by the end of the year.

NewsGuild also said the company told employees planning to go on strike that they would not be paid for the duration of the strike. Members were also required to work overtime to get the job done before the strike, according to the union.

The New York Times has seen other, shorter strikes in recent years, including a half-day protest in August by a new union representing tech workers who denounced unfair labor practices.

In a development that both sides called significant, the company backed down from its proposal to replace an existing adjustable pension plan with an enhanced retirement plan.

The Times offered instead to let the union choose between the two. The company also agreed to expand the benefits of fertility treatment.

Levy said the company also offered to increase wages by 5.5 percent upon contract ratification, followed by 3 percent increases in 2023 and 2024. That would be up from annual increases of 2.2 percent. in the expired contract.

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Stacy Cowley, a finance reporter and union representative, said the union is seeking 10 percent wage increases at ratification, which she said would make up for raises not received in the past two years.

He also said the union wants the contract to guarantee employees the option to work remotely some of the time, if their roles allow, but the company wants the right to call workers into the office full-time.

Cowley said the Times has required its staff to be in the office three days a week, but many have shown up less often for an informal protest.

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