Staffers at The Wirecutter, the shopping arm of The New York Times, are planning a strike for Black Friday week — the busiest shopping period of the year.
More than 90 percent of The NewsGuild of New York-represented workers are prepared to stage a virtual strike during the Black Friday shopping week over failed negotiations on wages, including higher pay minimums, annual guaranteed raises and caps on increases to health care costs. The union has been bargaining for nearly two years for their first collective bargaining agreement.
“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 15 years ago,” said 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, but if a deal isn’t reached, the Wirecutter Union will call on readers and subscribers not to shop through the site on Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
This comes at the same time, 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 in Manhattan on Nov. 16.
Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York, said: “Workers are the reason Wirecutter is a much-relied upon publication. 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.”
A spokeswoman for The New York Times said: “We look forward to continuing to work towards an agreement with the Wirecutter Union in our standard process at the negotiating table. Our compensation proposal is more generous than what they’ve described and seeks to maintain a similar compensation structure for Wirecutter employees with programs in place for others at The Times Company.”
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