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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

New York Times staffers may threaten "byline strike" over labor dispute



Staffers for the New York Times may threaten a “byline strike” as their latest demonstration in ongoing labor talks, according to an internal memo released over the weekend.

The proposed strike would mean stories and photographs published in the New York Times would not include journalists' names. Grant Glickson, who leads the New York Times unit of the Newspaper Guild of New York, states in the memo that “over the last few days, hundreds of people from every department, including many of our best known journalists, have quietly signed pledges to withhold their bylines, photo credits, and producing credits.”

Glickson’s memo to union members was released on Sunday, Oct. 21. The memo also asked members to meet in the lobby of the New York Times building the next day to greet new CEO Mark Thompson, who officially starts new month. Approximately 250 employees participated in the Monday walk-out, holding signs that said “Save Our Times” and “Without us, it is just white space.”

No specific date or duration of the byline strike is given, only saying "we don’t know yet if we will have to go down this road, but it is vital that we be prepared."

New York Times management continues to work out a new labor deal with the newspaper’s employees, a negotiation process that has now dragged on for 19 months. The contract dispute has already caused staffers in both the New York and Washington offices to stage a walkout earlier this month.

In an email to the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, Glickman said that “byline strikes have been a common labor tactic in journalism for decades” and “truly is the strongest message – short of a strike – that reporters can deliver to their publisher that they are unhappy with contract talks."

The negotiations between the labor and management have been stuck due to disagreements over the company’s pensions, health insurance, and salaries. The New York Times declined comment on the proposed byline strike.



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