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Times Guild members ratify contract after vigorous debate

11/13/2012

Guild members at The Times on Tuesday ratified a new contract that preserves a defined benefit pension plan and increases overall compensation over the next three years.

By a show of hands in New York, Washington and other bureaus, Guild members voted in two groups by a combined 521 to 64 with one abstention in favor of ratifying the contract. The vote of newspaper members was 472 to 43 with one abstention.  On the digital side, it was 49 to 21.

(See photos of New York ratification vote)

The vote followed a vigorous internal debate over top management’s willingness to lavishly reward itself and its former CEO while refusing to come across with higher pay increases for the staff that actually produces the newspaper and website.

Guild leaders asserted – and a large majority of members apparently agreed – that the contract, reached on Oct. 28 with the help of a private mediator, offered the best terms possible without resorting to more drastic action.

In explaining the highlights of the contract to one of two packed meetings on Tuesday, Guild President Bill O’Meara lauded the newfound activism of Times Guild members, which he said was crucial in enabling Guild negotiators to win compensation gains, despite the demands from company executives as recently as September for a concessionary contract.

“The level of engagement and activism among members at The Times has been greater than anything I’ve seen in my 24 years at the Guild,” O’Meara said. “Without it, we would never have been able to accomplish what we did.”

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