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New York Times staffers, bosses reach agreement on new employee contract

Much of the negotiations, punctuated by a 24-hour walkout by Times journalists in December, centered on minimum salaries for Times employees

The New York Times's headquarters in Manhattan. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
4 min

A previous version of this article incorrectly said that the one-time bonus Times employees will get once the new contract is ratified will be calculated from their March 2021 salary. It will be calculated from the base pay they have earned since the previous contract expired. In addition, the day that the staff and bosses agreed on a contract was incorrectly reported. It was Tuesday. The article has been corrected.

New York Times staffers and bosses reached an agreement on a new employee contract Tuesday, ending two years of intense negotiations that, at times, turned bitter and spilled out into public.

Much of the negotiations centered on minimum salaries and raises for Times employees, as well as the size of retroactive bonuses to cover the period since the previous contract expired in March 2021.

Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York, called the new contract “a monumental win for journalists, administrative, business and security workers at the New York Times.”

She added that she hopes the contract “raises the bar for the entire media industry and inspires other workers to stand together to fight for what they’re worth.”

“The proposed contract, subject to ratification by the membership, reflects our deep and enduring commitment to ensuring that our colleagues continue to receive the best package of compensation and benefits in our industry,” New York Times deputy managing editor Cliff Levy said in a note sent to NewsGuild unit members.

He added: “From the beginning of this bargaining process, we’ve been determined to reach a contract that shows how much we value the contributions of NewsGuild members to The Times’s success. This proposed agreement does just that.”

In December, Times journalists walked off the job for 24 hours in protest after more than 1,100 staffers signed a pledge, in the most large-scale employee demonstration at the prestigious news organization in decades.

More recently, dozens of union members staged a protest in the newsroom, with chants and noisemakers, briefly interrupting the day’s work. In April, hundreds similarly protested a shareholder meeting.

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The standoff has taken place against a backdrop of a rough season for media companies, as layoffs have hit organizations big and small, including CNN, Gannett and The Washington Post. Some organizations, such as BuzzFeed News, have shuttered.

The Times has weathered the tough economic climate better than most — and staffers have argued that they deserve a share of the success, particularly after enduring stagnant wages during previous eras when belt-tightening was required. Some have also worried about lower-paid colleagues living in one of the country’s most expensive cities.

“This deal is a victory for all the union members who fought for a fair contract that rewards our hard work and sacrifice,” Bill Baker, New York Times communications coordinator and Times Guild unit chair, said in a news release. “It shows that the company cannot take us for granted and must be held accountable.”

The Times has spent millions on acquiring hot properties such as the game Wordle and the sports website the Athletic in a bid to grow its readership and subscription base. But it also has seen a decline in advertising revenue — by nearly 9 percent, to about $106 million, in the first quarter of this year compared with last. And even as it added 190,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year, the company’s first-quarter adjusted operating profit dropped by 11 percent, to $54 million, compared with the same period last year.

The agreement, which still has to be ratified in a vote taken among New York Times union members, sets the minimum salary at the Times at $65,000. It also includes 3.25 percent raise in 2024, a 3 percent raise in 2025, and immediate, varying raises that start at 10.6 percent, according to the guild.

Once the contract is ratified, all employees will receive a one-time 7 percent bonus calculated from the pay they have earned since the last contract expired.

Remote work has also been a sticking point; according to the agreement, the Times can require workers to report in person three days a week.

The contract covers all variety of staffers at the Times, including those working in the newsroom, advertising and business departments.

This article has been updated.