Friday, March 2, 2012

Newspaper Guild Protest at The New York Times

View from across court yard of Times building during Feb. 29 gathering of Guild members at daily Page One meeting

In silence, Times Guild members send a loud message

Managing Editor John Geddes

'Without us, it's just white space'

On Feb. 29, more than 250 New York Times Guild members in New York and Washington gave editors a silent but conspicuous demonstration of their anger at company contract proposals to cut their overall compensation, including retirement income.

Executive Edtior Jill Abramson
Journalists and other Guild-represented employees whose work makes The Times what it is – in print and pixels – lined the hallways as the newspaper's senior editors made their way to their regular meeting to discuss the day's top stories and to decide which would go on page one. Washington Bureau reporters did the same when their editors met to dial into the New York “Page One” meeting.

The reporters, editors, photographers, digital journalists, other newsroom employees and ad sales reps stood silently, leaving a narrow lane for the editors, including Executive Editor Jill Abramson, to pass. Most wore stickers that said, “Without us, it's just white space.” It is their work, after all, that fills The Times's print and Web pages and reinforces its reputation for journalistic excellence every day.

Associate Managing Editor Alan Flippen
 For most Guild members, the beef was not with their editors, but with high-level Times executives, who are seeking a wide swath of cuts in contract negotiations that, among other things, would freeze Guild members’ salaries, cut medical benefits and weaken retirement security. While progress has been made in some areas, management’s chief negotiator declared in mid-February that “the pension plan you’re in has to go.”

Most galling to Times staffers is that management’s demands come as the company sent former CEO Janet Robinson on her way at the end of 2011 with a severance package that has grown with every successive report like a Powerball jackpot.

A recent report valued her exit package at more than $21 million, including a $10.9 million pension payout.

Guild members maintain silent vigil even after start of Feb. 29 Page One meeting.

Guild member shows what the Times would look like without our efforts.

New York Times Page one meeting with members of The Newspaper Guild of New York, Local 31003, CWA in silent protest.

what the well dressed Times Guild member is wearing these days

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We are the New York area workplace advocate for people in the news business, and that includes some of the best journalists in the country.

The Newspaper Guild of New York represents more than 3,000 employees at New York area-based news organizations, as well as a few non-news organizations.
Since its launch in 1934 by crusading columnist Heywood Broun and others, the Guild has been the voice in the workplace for practitioners of big-city journalism and employees in advertising, circulation and other related areas. It started with newspapers, but today the Guild’s reach extends to workers in all media.

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