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In silence, Times Guild members send a loud message

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'Without us, it's just white space'

On Feb. 29, more than 250 New York Times Guild members in New York and Washington gave editors a silent but conspicuous demonstration of their anger at company contract proposals to cut their overall compensation, including retirement income.

Journalists and other Guild-represented employees whose work makes The Times what it is – in print and pixels – lined the hallways as the newspaper's senior editors made their way to their regular meeting to discuss the day's top stories and to decide which would go on page one. Washington Bureau reporters did the same when their editors met to dial into the New York “Page One” meeting.

The reporters, editors, photographers, digital journalists, other newsroom employees and ad sales reps stood silently, leaving a narrow lane for the editors, including Executive Editor Jill Abramson, to pass. Most wore stickers that said, “Without us, it's just white space.” It is their work, after all, that fills The Times's print and Web pages and reinforces its reputation for journalistic excellence every day.

For most Guild members, the beef was not with their editors, but with high-level Times executives, who are seeking a wide swath of cuts in contract negotiations that, among other things, would freeze Guild members’ salaries, cut medical benefits and weaken retirement security. While progress has been made in some areas, management’s chief negotiator declared in mid-February that “the pension plan you’re in has to go.”

Most galling to Times staffers is that management’s demands come as the company sent former CEO Janet Robinson on her way at the end of 2011 with a severance package that has grown with every successive report like a Powerball jackpot. A recent report valued her exit package at more than $21 million, including a $10.9 million pension payout.

Top: View from across court yard of Times building during Feb. 29 gathering of Guild members at daily Page One meeting. Above: Times editors making their way through the crowd en route to their meeting. From left, Managing Editor John Geddes, Executive Edtior Jill Abramson and Associate Managing Editor Alan Flippen. Below: A member silently makes his point outside the Page One meeting.

 

A Times Guild member demonstrates what the paper would be without the work of its employee during Feb. 29 mass gathering at editors' meeting.


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Below left, Washington Bureau staffers gather near conference room as their editors dial into New York Page One meeting. Below right, what the well dressed Times Guild member is wearing these days (below right). At bottom, Guild members maintain silent vigil even after start of Feb. 29 Page One meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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