New York Times Hit With First Mass Walkout in Decades

News Guild urges readers not to cross the 'digital picket line,' meaning no Wordle Thursday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 6:21 AM CST
New York Times Hit With First Mass Walkout in Decades
The New York Times building is shown on Oct. 21, 2009, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Some 1,100 New York Times employees walked off the job beginning at 12:01am Thursday to protest that they still don't have a fair contract after more than 20 months of negotiations—and they want your help. "Read local news. Listen to public radio. Pull out a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak," the Times News Guild tweeted Wednesday, urging readers to "stand with us on the digital picket line." That would mean forgoing Wordle, the Times crossword, and The Daily podcast, per Fast Company. CNN reports the 24-hour walkout is "an act of protest that has not been staged by employees at the paper of record since the late 1970s."

The union, whose last contract expired in March 2021, is calling for a $65,000 starting salary, pay raises in response to inflation, enhanced health insurance and retirement benefits, remote work options, and for the Times to address "a biased performance evaluation system" found to give lower ratings to employees of color, per Fast Company. A week ago, it informed management that it would stage a 24-hour walkout if a deal wasn't reached by Thursday. Vanity Fair reports management—including publisher AG Sulzberger and president and CEO Meredith Kopek Levien—"balked" at the union's request to enter marathon negotiation sessions to prevent the work stoppage.

The Times' chief human resources officer told employees Tuesday that participants in the work stoppage won't be paid "for the duration" and "cannot use vacation or personal days to account for this time" unless it was already approved. By Wednesday, the union tweeted a graphic imitating the Times' election needle, which showed a 95% chance of a walkout. It later said "management walked away from the table with five hours to go." Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 Project, will speak at a rally outside the Times building at 1pm, per CNN. A rep for the paper says it's "prepared to ensure the Times continues to serve our readers without disruption." (More walkout stories.)

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