NYGuild Members at New York Times’ Wirecutter Announce Walkout During Black Friday Week Over Illegal Bargaining Practices
New York — The staff of the product review and recommendation site Wirecutter, owned by the New York Times Company, have announced that over 90% of The NewsGuild of New York-represented workers are prepared to strike during the Black Friday shopping week, the busiest week of the year for the site. The union has been bargaining for nearly two years for their first collective bargaining agreement.
Members are protesting an unfair labor practice against management’s failure to provide complete information required to negotiate over wages. The issues at stake in the contract fight include higher pay minimums, annual guaranteed raises, caps on increases to healthcare costs, and banning non-disclosure agreements for cases of harassment and discrimination.
“In the two years we’ve been in bargaining, Wirecutter’s revenue and readership has grown enormously, and still the Times is nickel-and-diming its editorial staff—we have many union members who do more and earn less than I did in my first big media job fifteen years ago.” says Tim Heffernan, senior staff writer at the site. “A contract would ensure that we have a real say in our compensation and in our future at the Times.”
The Times announced in its latest quarterly earnings report that Wirecutter has added 10,000 paid subscribers and continues to bring in record revenue for the Times, which is sitting on over $1 billion in cash. Times management has only offered guaranteed annual raises of 0.5%, leaving most raises to discretionary merit, despite inflation soaring to 5.4%.
“The journalism industry has a well documented diversity problem. The Times has made bold statements about improving diversity and equity but remains resistant to meaningful and powerful changes that would address pay equity and access to these jobs. We're giving the company an opportunity to set a precedent for the industry by investing in its current and future staff,” says Katie Okamoto, a staff writer at Wirecutter.
If a deal is not reached, the Wirecutter Union is calling on readers and subscribers not to shop through the site on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Supporters can sign up here to stay updated on the status of contract talks and virtual picket.
“Workers are the reason Wirecutter is a much-relied upon publication” says Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “Their labor is the heart of the company and their fight for respect, for a fair contract guarantees them a voice in their own workplace.”
Members of the three unions at the New York Times—The Times Guild, Times Tech Guild, and Wirecutter Union—will be protesting Times management’s anti-union tactics at an in-person rally outside the Times building on Tuesday November 16th at 12pm EST.
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 4,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
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