New York Times staff members are scheduled to walk out on their jobs Monday afternoon as a response to stalled labor negotiations.
The Huffington Post reported that the walkout will take place at 3:35 p.m. local time and last for “a few minutes,” per an email sent to members of the Newspaper Guild of New York by unit chair Grant Glickson.
“At every bargaining session for the last year and a half, negotiators for The Times have offered us the same poisoned chalice: perpetually shrinking compensation,” Glickson said in the email. “Today we begin a series of actions to make sure that the company hears and understands our position. We have more than earned fair wages and benefits. We will accept nothing less.”
Among those actions, Glickson said, is signing a letter to executive editor Jill Abramson, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and new Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson.
The letter. signed by 621 employees as of early Monday afternoon, accuses the company of insisting on “major cuts” to employees’ benefits, including a cut in the company’s contribution to retirement benefits.
“We urge you: step back from this corrosive, needless crisis,” the letter said. “Consider the relief that The Times has already won in these talks. Reflect on the revelations of this past decade. It wasn’t luck or brand legacy that allowed this great institution to make the transition to a digital era during an economic collapse. It was the people of The Times, working seven days a week, around the clock.”
Glickson also noted that the walkout is not mandatory, and should be done by employees who can spare “a 10-15 minute break” around the scheduled time.
“Any proposal to dismantle the decade of work that has been done to unify the newsroom, securing its place as the world’s premier news organization, could be laughed off as far-fetched legal gimmickry,” he said in the email. “After all, that would be an act of self-immolation.”
Negotiations between the union and management are scheduled to resume Tuesday.
[Image via Niall Kennedy on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]