The New York Times has never had paying subscribers again, and yet it has never been more of a problem for the newspaper to agree on paying employees – just ask the person who runs the newsroom. Joe Khan, a 20-year veteran, acknowledged that the current labor dispute was a unique moment in the Time, according to two reporters present, and agreed that the negotiations had been lengthy. Union members’ outcry over stalled contract negotiations has increasingly spilled over into the public eye as the New York Times Guild ramped up organizational pressure, including Time staffers tweet their frustration and more than 300 of them sent emails to leadership about the impact of stagnant wages, and also made headlines with a refusal to return to the office. The company should pay its staff more money, Kahn said. according to the two attendees; but, he added, he is the editor, not the CEO. “There are many things in this world that are true that you don’t say,” one reporter said of the comment. “A sharp editor would have hit that line.”
That same day, the head of the TimeBusiness Desk was asked by her staff what she intended to do about the fact that they were in turmoil. ‘Nothing,’ Ellen Pollock Pollock replied, according to two collaborators. When asked by her team if she would help them argue for better pay, Pollock said she didn’t think it was appropriate to play a part in contract negotiations; The staff were so shocked by her down-to-earth response that they began drafting an open letter asking Pollock, who is known for being blunt and fearless with the brass, to let those above her know that the company’s approach is of its staff to do their jobs. The letter was delivered Friday, according to a Time “Ellen has responded to the letter and has relayed her team’s concerns to senior editors,” said Time spokesman Danielle Rhoades Ha. Asked about what Kahn told members of the National Desk, Rhoades Ha said more context was needed: “Joe noted that although he is the editor and not the CEO, he is convinced that the entire leadership of the company is is on the same page and wants a deal that will ensure a better contract for our journalists.”)
Understandably, managers feel limited when it comes to union issues, and traditionally stay out of it. So the fact that the staff is clearly looking to them for help indicates the seriousness of the situation. “We’re not stupid; we understand how power dynamics work and how capitalism works,” financial reporter said Stacy Cowley, the unit secretary and a member of the negotiating committee. To “say this is happening at the negotiating table, that we, your managers and editor-in-chief of the editorial board, have nothing to do with it — that’s just a shielding strategy,” Cowley added. “We’ve been at the table for a year and a half. And it’s not working, it hasn’t worked, so now we’re about to say we’re going to drag our editors into this.”
The Times Guild, which represents about 1,300 employees, has been embroiled in lengthy contract negotiations since their last one ended in March 2021, but a confluence of factors has triggered a new level of engagement. , or job-specific rules, wage inequality has become an internal movement, pushing even veterans and big names off the sidelines. “This is the first time I feel much more invested and outraged, and I’m not alone,” a Time The reporter told me. The biggest factor is that staffers haven’t received a contract raise in over two years and inflation is eroding their salaries. “That really has financial implications for people. I have a daughter in college,” the reporter said. Tom Coffee, an old editor who sits on the union contract action committee. “So you’ve got all these expenses that’s just going up and you’ve got a paycheck that’s buying less and less every week.” (Rhoades Ha noticed the Time “go consistently”[es] above and beyond what our contract requires to compensate our staff. Last year we also gave members millions in non-contract raises and bonuses.”)
Meanwhile, the Time earlier this year paid $550 million in cash for a sports news site, The Athletic, as part of its bid to go from eight million to 10 million subscribers by 2025. When that goal was reached a few years earlier, the company announced a new goal: a minimum of 15 million subscribers by the end of 2027 Time, in expansion mode, also picked up Wordle for an undisclosed price – in “the low seven figures”, according to the Time-earlier this year.
The financial realities for the workforce have prompted some to pay more attention to what’s happening at the negotiating table, meetings that used to be a chore to attend but which Zoom has given a new window on. lunch break or while waiting for a call. It’s just really easy to see what’s going on, and what’s going on has taken a lot of people by surprise,” said one Time news reporter. It’s not just that, despite how well it’s doing financially, the company is proposing meager wages, smaller contributions to the medical plan, and retirement discounts, as Guild members say. (Rhoades Ha claimed the company’s proposal would “bring more medical benefits than employees enjoy today” and that their proposal to transfer unit members to the company’s 401,000 plan from the Guild’s adjustable retirement plan” about offering a better plan with a higher return and more flexibility to employees, not about cost savings.”)
“There is a feeling among the staff who have paid attention to the negotiations that the company’s negotiating team is disrespectful and does not value journalism in a way that other parts of the company at least claim,” the reporter said. not true,” said Rhoades Ha. “During the negotiations, we emphasized the importance of our journalistic colleagues to the success of The Times and our mission.” Time has “strengthened our commitment to journalism and journalists with an unparalleled level of investment” as their competitors have reduced editorial costs.)
Several reporters said it was demoralizing to watch the company’s mercenaries talk to their colleagues. The New York Times that they know they have to act that way,” said one. “The financial part of it really affects people in a very real way,” said another, “and the dismissive tone of management really affects the ability of people to do their job well. Whether or not it leads to a strike, such as New York magazine suggested earlier this month there was a possibility – two staffers I spoke to suggested that talk of a strike at this stage was exaggerated, and the union has not tried to organize one – the conflict within the Time I have heard that some reporters and editorial veterans have personally contacted the company’s top leaders in hopes of convincing them to Timenegotiating attitude.
According to sports reporter and unit member Kevin Draper, the guild’s current proposal is an 8% annual increase over a four-year period, which, together with an adjustment in the cost of living, amounts to an increase of about 40%, they say. The Guild argues that’s not much to ask of a company that reported adjusted operating profit of more than $76 million in its last fiscal quarter alone, increased its dividend payout to shareholders this year and increased compensation for some top executives. The New York Times“Financial success, the more than 1,400 employees who produce the newspaper daily should also share in it,” Draper said. “We are offering a 10% pay increase: 4% upon ratification of a new contract and 3% increases in both 2023 and 2024,” said Rhoades Ha. a “retroactive 2.5% bonus to recognize the time employees have worked since the old contract expired in March 2021.” Under the old contract, which was ratified in December 2017, union members received a 2% annual increase. And because the Time is a place where people sometimes spend their entire careers, there are reporters during this round of negotiations who remember the sacrifices they have made for the company in the past such as leave and pay cuts taken during the financial crisis to Time get through the painful period. Last year the Time generated total revenue of $2.1 billion.Rhoades Ha noted that the company’s entire net income was $220 million last year.