Save Our Times
October 23, 2012 6:09 am
Unionized New York Times staffers gathered to greet new CEO Mark Thompson yesterday afternoon, holding signs asking the former BBC chief to “Save Our Times.” The action was a cry for help on behalf of members of the Newspaper Guild of New York at the Times, who are currently in a deadlock with ownership over pay and benefit cuts in a proposed contract.
Though some progress has been made in ongoing mediation, hundreds of staffers have pledged to join a strike of omission if necessary, stating they will withhold their bylines from articles, photos and production credits. The “byline strike”, which also states unionized employees will work strictly within the confines of their contract, was echoed by a sign greeting Thompson in the NYT lobby: “Without Us, Its Just White Space.”
A Memo issued by the Newspaper Guild to staffers urges solidarity. From Jim Romenesko.com:
Date: October 21, 2012 4:59:47 PM EDT
Subject: Mobilization Message: Get ready for next action tomorrow: Welcome New CEO
One week into mediation, negotiators for the company continue to propose what amount to the most radical pay cuts for the New York Times staff in modern history.
We will spare no effort to make these talks succeed. But we cannot avert our eyes from the blunt truth that we are on the brink of a crisis — for The Times, for us, and for the millions of people who depend on our coverage of the world. And it is a needless, pointless, corrosive crisis.
Those of us who have dedicated so much of our selves to the Times must speak and act now. A major negotiating session is scheduled for next Sunday.
Before then, there’s much to do.
Here are two ways for you to pitch in immediately.
The company’s new CEO, Mark Thompson, is expected to begin work Monday. Let’s get together in the lobby at 3:40 for a group picture. We want to welcome him — and acquaint him with the grave situation he has walked into.
Over the last few days, hundreds of people from every department, including many of our best known journalists, have quietly signed pledges to withhold their bylines, photo credits, and producing credits. They have also pledged to work strictly to the terms of the contract. We don’t know yet if we will have to go down this road, but it is vital that we be prepared. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up yet, ask around.
Make time Monday afternoon at 3:40 to gather in the lobby. More details Monday morning, but count on it being short and sweet. Well, not too sweet.
It’s important to know that mediation has made significant progress, but on the major, show-stopping issue, we’re still stuck. After 20 months of talks, company negotiators are repeating the same broken formula. In real dollars, they’re demanding pay cuts as far as the eye can see.
It is high time for them to believe us. We will accept nothing less than fair wages and benefits.
The Mobilization Committee
Staffers claim that the rift between the two sides amounts to about $20 million dollars — a drop in the bucket of the famed paper’s endowment.
Image from here