Wirecutter Union Reaches Deal on First Contract With the New York Times After Black Friday Strike
New York – Workers at Wirecutter announced today they have reached a deal with the New York Times on their first contract. This represents a major milestone for the Wirecutter Union after negotiations came to a head last month, when Wirecutter staff went on strike during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, the site’s most profitable days of the year. The unit includes editorial workers at the popular product review site Wirecutter and is represented by The NewsGuild of New York.
“For two years, we fought for wages and benefits that match the value we bring to Wirecutter and the New York Times, we fought for policies that are fair and equitable, and for improvements to our working conditions that allow us to find and retain the most talented journalists,” says Nick Guy, Senior Staff Writer. “Our union committed to these principles and organized to achieve 100% participation in a strike during our busiest time of the year. I couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside my coworkers as we ratify this contract.”
The union won immediate average wage increases of approximately $5,000, with the lowest paid members receiving immediate 18% raises. They also won 3% raises in each year of the deal, which include a guaranteed minimum increase of 2 to 2.5% per year, a ban on non-disclosure agreements that reference harassment and/or discrimination, a cap on health care cost increases, just cause protections, an appeals process for performance evaluations, enforceable contract language around the company’s commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and more.
Prior to the Black Friday strike, Times management had only offered guaranteed annual raises of 0.5%, leaving most raises up to managerial discretion, despite the fact that Wirecutter has added thousands of paid subscribers and continues to bring in record revenue.
“Our members at Wirecutter love what they do, and now they will be fairly paid for their work. This contract is a testament to the collective power they’ve built and serves as an example of what can be accomplished when workers band together and demand their worth,” says Susan DeCarava, President, NewsGuild of New York. “We look forward to a productive relationship with Wirecutter management in the future.”
The New York Times has continuously come under fire for union-busting against staff across the company. Just last week, it was revealed management illegally withheld holiday pay from Wirecutter workers in retaliation for striking; the union has filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the NLRB. At the Times Guild, the company slow-walked bargaining by attempting to limit workers’ ability to observe their own union negotiations. Relatedly, workers at the Tech Guild led a walkout in protest of illegal union busting and the company’s attempts to disenfranchise hundreds of workers in August. Despite the resistance, Wirecutter went on strike with 100% participation, raised over $40k in strike funds from public support, and won a transformative contract.
“The collective strength of our unit is incredible. Despite the roadblocks of the pandemic and the Time’s continuous union-busting tactics, we didn’t give an inch in the vision of making Wirecutter the best place to work,” said Kaitlyn Wells, Staff Writer. “I hope this becomes a launchpad for other media shops and serves as a reminder that better working conditions aren’t an unreasonable ask.”
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 4,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
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