The Economics at the Heart of the Times Union Standoff – The New Yorker

by | Dec 11, 2022 | Financial

Last Thursday, hundreds of Times employees gathered outside of 620 Eighth Avenue, the newspaper’s headquarters, to take part in a daylong strike. A little more than a decade ago, the Times had used the building to help pay down its debts after taking out a two-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar loan to stay afloat; today, the company occupies an enviable position in the hard-up world of media. It has acquired the Athletic, Wordle, and Wirecutter, made expansions to life-style products, such as the Cooking section, and generally benefitted from being the former President Donald Trump’s mainstream-media “enemy.” And yet employee morale at the Times is at a nadir. After two years of union negotiations, seventy-seven per cent of the bargaining unit signed on for a walkout—the longest work stoppage since 1978, when Times workers were off the job for eighty-eight days. “I think they were testing to see if we had the power to pull this off,” Bill Baker, the unit chair of the Times, which is represented by the NewsGuild of New York, said on Thursday, of management. The showing, he said, should put pressure on management to “come to the table with sincere proposals.”The major sticking point between the Times Guild—which comprises not just journalists but other workers, such as security guards and I.T. staff—and management is w …

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