Thread cutters threaten to stop work from Black Friday

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Union members from Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times Company, said on Monday they were prepared to stop working during the busy shopping period around Black Friday if a deal was made for a contract was not concluded.

Wirecutter staff unionized in 2019 and the Times Company voluntarily recognized the union. Over the next two years, the union negotiated a collective agreement with the company.

The Wirecutter union said it was looking for higher minimum wages and guaranteed increases.

“The business has grown considerably during the pandemic,” said Nick Guy, union president, in an interview. “We are now on the front page of the New York Times website daily, and even during all of that, we haven’t seen any significant salary increases. “

The union is calling for a minimum wage of $ 58,000 and guaranteed annual increases of at least 3%, Guy said. The company offered guaranteed annual increases of 0.5%, he said.

More than 90 percent of the union’s roughly 70 workers, who work remotely, have pledged not to work during the holiday shopping season after Thanksgiving if a deal is not reached by Black Friday on November 26, a said Mr. Guy. The union, which has not said how long the shutdown will last, will also ask supporters not to buy from the Black Friday site on Cyber ​​Monday, November 29.

“It has dragged on for so long and the progress we are seeing has slowed down,” Guy said of the negotiations, adding: “Without action like this, I don’t think we will be able to achieve a contract that we will be. satisfied.

A Times Company spokeswoman said: “We look forward to continuing to work towards a deal with the Wirecutter union as part of our standard process at the bargaining table. “

“Our compensation proposal is more generous than what they described and seeks to maintain a similar compensation structure for Wirecutter employees with programs in place for others at The Times Company,” she added. .

The Times faces union struggles on two other fronts. A group of technicians, including software engineers and product managers, announced the formation of a union in April. This union filed for election through the National Labor Relations Board after the Times refused to voluntarily recognize it. And the Times Guild, which has been in existence since 1940 and represents approximately 1,300 Times reporters and editors, is negotiating a new contract. Unions representing tech workers, Times reporters, and Wirecutter employees are affiliated with the New York NewsGuild.


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