Hundreds of journalists and staff at The New York Times started a 24-hour walkout on Thursday, marking the newspaper’s first strike in more than 40 years.

Employees in newsrooms and other members of The NewsGuild of New York say they are tired of the bargaining that has been going on since their last contract expired in March 2021.

The union announced last week more than 1,100 employees would go on strike for 24 hours beginning at 12:01 am on Thursday, December 8, unless such two sides reached an agreement.

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The NewsGuild tweeted Thursday morning that workers, “are now officially on work stoppage, the first of this scale at the company in 4 decades. It’s never an easy decision to refuse to do work you love, but our members are willing to do what it takes to win a better newsroom for all.”

Tuesday and some of Wednesday were devoted to negotiations, but the parties were still at odds over matters including pay raises and laws governing remote jobs.

The union announced on Twitter on Wednesday that a deal had not been reached and the walkout was happening.

It said: “We were ready to work for as long as it took to reach a fair deal,” it said, “but management walked away from the table with five hours to go.”

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But New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement the company was still in negotiations when it were told that the strike was happening.

She said: “It is disappointing that they are taking such an extreme action when we are not at an impasse.”

Uncertainty remained on how Thursday’s reporting would be impacted, although the live-news desk, which covers breaking news for the digital paper, is among the strike’s backers.

The workers had organized a rally for that afternoon in front of the Times Square offices of the newspaper.

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Ms Rhoades Ha said there were “strong preparations in place” to keep on publishing information, including using foreign reporters and other journalists who are not union members.

Deputy Managing Editor Cliff Levy called the planned strike “puzzling” and “an uneasy point in negotiations over a new contract” in a note issued to guild-represented personnel on Tuesday night.

He stated that it would be the bargaining unit’s first strike since 1981 and that it “comes despite the company’s increasing efforts to make headway.”

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However, the NewsGuild claimed in a statement signed by over 1,000 workers that management had been “dragging its feet” in contract negotiations for almost two years and that “time is running out to negotiate a fair deal” by the end of the year.

The NewsGuild further said the employer informed workers who planned to strike that they would not be paid during the walkout.

Other, shorter walkouts have occurred recently at The New York Times, including a half-day protest in August by a newly formed union representing technology workers who alleged unfair labor practices.

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The corporation withdrew its proposal to replace the current adjustable pension scheme with an improved 401 (k) retirement plan, which was a breakthrough that all parties hailed as significant.

The Times proposed that the union pick between the two as an alternative. The business also consented to broaden its coverage of infertility treatments.

According to Levy, the corporation has also pledged to increase salaries by 5.5 percent if the deal is approved, with subsequent increases of three percent in 2023 and 2024.

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She added while the firm wants the ability to call workers back to the office full-time, the union wants the contract to guarantee employees the opportunity to work some of the time remotely, provided their roles allow it.

According to Cowley, the Times has obliged employees to work three days a week, but many have been coming in less frequently as a kind of informal protest.

Source: ABC News

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