This report appears as one of many firsts in this week’s edition of confidant, the newsletter draws the curtain for the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips and complaints here.
Being tired of New York Times executives say there is “a high probability” they will go on strike as they continue to tighten management in an effort to secure a pay rise amid messy contract negotiations.
On Monday, about 1,300 employees, represented by NewsGuild, pledged to work from home while the Gray Lady tries to get them back to the office. Anger has reached a boiling point over the lengthy collective bargaining process as staffers have not seen a pay rise since March 2020.
Hundreds of employees sent emotional letters to publisher AG Sulzberger, editor-in-chief Joe Kahn, CEO Meredith Kopit Levien and opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury, protesting the company’s pay structure — including one employee who confessed to making DoorDash deliveries to make ends meet. at.
And some of the paper’s hardworking reporters have gotten involved.
“When I started at the Time in 2014 my salary was $128,000,” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Emily Steel wrote in one of the letters obtained and reviewed by Confider. “Since then, I’ve negotiated two merit-based raises. But, adjusted for inflation, my salary is now worth about the same as when I started in 2014. And since contract negotiations began in 2020, my salary has been worth more than $17,000 less.”
In another scathing note, reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs wrote: “The CEO’s recent union breakdown, presumably approved by the publisher and never (publicly) questioned by the editorial board, was a real blow to my throat and left me morally ill. about continuing to work here. The delay in negotiating wages with a long-standing union has done the same.”
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Time columnist Ginia Bellafante similarly seared in her letter: “Many of us are equally disheartened by the emphasis on ‘benefits’ — the wellness initiatives, birthday announcements, global holidays and so on — which are now increasingly just like PR, coverage for underpaid wages and the product of expensive (and jargon-obsessed) consultants.”
Among those “benefits,” the newspaper has offered staffers in lieu of pay increases: Timebranded lunch box available for those who come to the office. “We hope they will be a connection point that brings all our colleagues together around a common theme: lunchtime”, Time brass wrote in a recent memo obtained and reviewed by Confider.
Employees who spoke to us all felt that the newspaper held their jobs in high regard and took them off. A strike may be the only option for the staff, these employees all said.
“The company has money and people get stock, stock, dividends and higher salaries, and the people who don’t get it are people who produce the thing,” sports reporter Kevin Draper told Confider. “The broad feeling is that the workers have been sacrificed in bad times, but the company made many millions of dollars from their work and they should be compensated for that with a realistic wage offer and they are nowhere near that.”
A Time spokesperson wrote in response: “We respect the rights of our Guild colleagues to have their voices heard… We are proud to offer one of the highest compensation packages in our industry and we are also proud to have a have a large and growing newsroom. We are actively working with the NYT NewsGuild to achieve a collective bargaining agreement that financially rewards our journalists for their contributions to the success of The Times, is fiscally responsible as the company remains in a growth mode and continues to be mindful of the industry landscape.”
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