Bosses force News Guild protests at New York Times, Washington Post
Washington Post workers pose in red Guild shirts in Franklin Park across from the Washington Post in downtown Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The building at the rear, is the Post. | News Guild

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON —Bosses’ refusal to meaningfully bargain forced simultaneous public protests at two of the nation’s most-prominent newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post, the News Guild reported.

At both papers, the unions cited corporate greed. The Guild-represented Times staffers haven’t had a raise in two years while management has spent $400 million on stock buybacks.

“The @nytimes recently disclosed the latest compensation packages for our top executives,” the Times unit of the New York News Guild tweeted recently. “Among the highlights: Our CEO, @meredith levin, was paid $7.6 million in 2022, up from $4.4 million in 2020. That’s a 73% increase.”

Bosses at the Post have refused to pay staffers what they deserve, says reporter Katie Mettler, the unit chair and Washington-Baltimore News Guild vice president.

Jeff Bezos, one of the nation’s three richest people, personally owns the Post, which he took private after buying it from the Graham family. Bezos is also known for his hostility to unions at his top enterprise, Amazon. That firm is now notorious for breaking job safety and health laws, too.

In New York on April 26, staffers jammed into the hall in front of the boardroom where publisher Arthur G. Sulzberger, scion of the ruling family, and other board members convened behind closed doors. Among workers’ goals: Minimum yearly pay of $65,000 in high-cost New York. Before that, the entire Times city room stood on March 29 in public protest over lack of raises for more than two years.

“Workers have been negotiating for two years. It’s time for management to stop their slow-walking. Enough is enough,” the New York Times unit also tweeted.

And on April 26 in D.C., the Post staffers marched out of their city room, across K Street into McPherson Square, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, TNG-CWA Local 32035 reported. Months of bargaining have been futile. In Post bureaus elsewhere, staffers also walked out, with San Francisco staffers pointing out the Post is not obeying city and California labor laws, either.

The two job actions reflect rising growth in both WBNG and the New York News Guild, which represents 2,000 Times workers, and younger and more militant staffers, especially at the Post.

Once a very docile unit—after the late publisher and owner Katherine Graham broke a press operators’/ITU strike decades ago—the WBNG Post unit is now more active, larger, and more militant. WBNG represents 1,000 Post staffers, even after recent arbitrary closure of the paper’s magazine, and abolition of its KidsPost page. Both moves produced layoffs.

New York Times workers protest. | News Guild

Both the New York and Washington Guilds called on newsroom management to get to the negotiating table and agree to contracts raising minimum pay immediately, The News Guild said.

“We are all worthy of fair pay, no matter what our title is,” said Post news staffer Katie Mettler, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild vice president. “We are worthy of fair pay no matter our race or gender or identity.”

“We’ve been bargaining for nine months and the company still has not given us a thorough and fair wage proposal,” added Kathleen Floyd, a shop steward and PR rep at the Post who represents commercial-side workers.

At the Times, pay isn’t the only problem, though the Guild says it could be easily solved. The union explained the gap between the Guild and the Times is $15 million for all 2,000 staffers, combined. Diverting that money from $400 million in stock buybacks covers the sum, the Guild says.

Two other big New York News Guild priorities are to “drop the givebacks you are demanding from The Times Guild in contract negotiations at a time of overwhelming financial success for the company,” and agree to a “just cause” clause in the first contract the Guild is negotiating for the Times Tech Guild “and in all future contracts with all Guild units.”

“Stop firing workers without cause,” the Times unionists demanded.

Statista confirms the New York Guild’s contention the Times is making money. Including the paper and all its other properties, the Times Co. earned $348 million in 2022 on revenues of $2.3 billion—at a time when hordes of newspapers nationwide suffer red ink, or close, publishers claim.

The union says the Times also must “commit to regular, frequent bargaining sessions with all Guild units in negotiations.” One topic of those talks: “The contributions of Guild members to the success of the company and how you plan to recognize them in a manner that upholds the values of the company.”

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.