The union, also known as the New York Times Guild, is demanding an eight percent annual increase for the next four years, citing the increased cost of living, according to Business Insider.
Management countered the union’s offer with a four percent increase for the first year, a two percent increase the following two years, and an additional one percent based on merit.
Union members complained about management’s counter, saying it would amount to a pay cut given record high inflation levels. The Guild also believes the paper can handle the pay increase, given its acquisition of the Athletic and Worldle, plus its nearly ten million paid subscribers.
Ken Draper, a sports reporter for the Times, believes the union’s proposal was “eminently reasonable,” noting the paper’s increase in executive pay and dividends to stockholders.
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A spokesperson for the paper rejected the union’s complaints, saying their proposal is “far outside the bounds for any organization, especially in such an uncertain economic climate.”
The spokesperson also indicated that heavy investments in salary might hamper the paper’s investment in journalism.
A strike among writers may be imminent if the two sides are not able to come to an agreement, according to another Time’s reporter.
“I think people feel that management doesn’t listen unless everybody is beside themselves and ready to walk out the door, so if that’s what it’s going to take, then that’s what it’s going to take,” Florida-based correspondent, Frances Robles, told the Insider.
However, Robles did mention that she does not wish to go on strike and hopes an agreement can be reached.
The last time there was a salary increase for union members was in March 2020, with the previous union contract expiring last year in March.
While union members from the Times want an eight percent raise, this year’s national average annual salary increase was documented at 4.8 percent, the highest pay hike for workers in a decade, according to Pearl Meyer. However, inflation was recorded at 8.3 percent in August, far outpacing the average annual salary increase.
The negotiations between management and the union are causing headaches within the Times‘ newsroom, with one anonymous editor telling the Insider, “It’s not a distraction, it’s the distraction.”
It is the latest distraction between the two parties after more than 1,300 employees at the Times signed a pledge vowing not to return to the office after the paper demanded they do so for three days a week, Breitbart News reported. The employees insisted they be given a wage increase to manage the rise in inflation.
The union also recently accused the paper of giving non-white employees lower job performance reviews compared to white colleagues, Breitbart News reported.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.