The Newspaper Guild is lashing out at The New York Times, saying the newspaper wants to cut pay and benefits for its unionized edit staffers even as it gushes about the quality of its journalism.
Talks have begun to replace the current contract, which expires March 30. According to the Guild, Times management wants to freeze wages, eliminate overtime pay, increase the workweek, and be able to assign employees to work across any of its platforms.
A Times spokesperson said the company was seeking a contract that reflects its multimedia demands. The current arrangement, which basically dates back to 2003, treats print and digital employees differently, and the Times said it's aiming for a single contract that gives the paper more flexibility.
"As we have done in negotiations with other unions at The Times, we are seeking a modern contract with the Guild that addresses the new realities of being a multimedia news organization, while sustaining the quality journalism that defines The Times," the rep wrote in an e-mail to Adweek.
The desire to cut costs hints at what are just the latest woes for the legendary newspaper, which has cut salaries and slashed editorial staff through buyouts in the past couple of years. Now, it’s getting ready to start charging readers for access to its Web site in an effort to help replace reduced circulation and advertising revenue.
Meanwhile, another iconic news brand, Newsweek, is expecting word about buyouts next week. Now that the weekly’s merger with Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast is complete, the combined company is looking for ways to ensure its survival.