Scores of journalists and editors at the New York Times will be on strike Thursday, their union announced, after bargaining over their contract fell through Wednesday.
The historic 24-hour walkout, which reportedly begins at midnight Thursday, would be the first strike of its kind at the newspaper in more than 40 years.
“Today we were ready to work for as long as it took to reach a fair deal, but management walked away from the table with five hours to go,” the NYT Guild tweeted Wednesday night. “It’s official: @NYTimesGuild members are walking out for 24 hours on Thursday. We know what we’re worth,” the union said.
The New York Times, however, said representatives were in the midst of negotiations when they were told the strike was confirmed.
“It is disappointing that they are taking such an extreme action when we are not at an impasse,” spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said.
The union last week announced tentative plans for the Thursday strike and revealed that over 1,000 members committed to the walkout if demands were not met.
The guild and the Times management bargained extensively Tuesday and part of Thursday. The mega-news corporation conceded to several of the union’s requests, including agreeing to expand fertility benefits and rescinding attempts to kill pension plans, the union said.
The guild is pushing through with the strike after accusing management of rejecting several of the union’s “most important priorities,” such as attractive pay increases, keeping pay minimums for new highs and contributing more to employee’s healthcare funds.
The Times offered to raise wages by 5.5% upon contract ratification, followed by 3% hikes in the next two years, Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy said.
The Guild is fighting for 10% pay raises at ratification, however, which it believes would make up for the raises not received during the last two years when the contract lapsed.
“Their wage proposal still fails to meet the economic moment, lagging far behind both inflation and the average rate of wage gains in the US,” the union said.
The union is also seeking the option to work in a hybrid setting, while the company requires employees to be in the office three days a week.
Striking journalists will protest outside The New York Times’ Midtown headquarters Thursday afternoon, while their non-union coworkers will be left to pick up the slack. Ha said the newspaper will rely on international reporters and other journalists to churn out stories.
“We will produce a robust report on Thursday,” Joe Kahn, the executive editor of The Times, wrote in a note to the newsroom. “But it will be harder than usual.”
Union workers are asking supporters not to cross the digital picket line by abstaining from all New York Times platforms on Thursday.
“Read local news. Make something from a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak,” the union members are sharing on Twitter.
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