The New York Times would like to cut its employees pay by 5%, but before that goes into effect for reporters and other members of the Newspaper Guild, they need the union's okay. A memo that just went out after a council meeting says the Guild is loath to take the pay cut because a) they're pretty sure the 60-80 layoffs the NYT is threatening will happen with or without the pay cut and b) it would make more sense to save money by firing some of the do-nothing managers.

Date: Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Guild UNION TIMES: Council Meets to Discuss Request for $4.5 in Savings

Union Times

Published By The Newspaper Guild of New York

For The New York Times Unit

Times Guild Unit Office – Ext. 1030, 1751

Visit the New York Guild's Website at WWW.NYGUILD.ORG

April 2, 2009

Unit Council Meets to Discuss Times Request for $4.5 in Savings from Guild

Votes unanimously to endorse Guild's search for

solutions that would help Times survive and prevent layoffs

Over thirty members of the Guild Unit Council of The New York Times, along
with unit officers from the Times Company Digital and several guests, met
on Wednesday to discuss the Times' proposal that seeks to reduce salaries
of Guild-covered workers by five percent through the end of 2009. The
Times threatens to lay off 60-80 workers, mainly from the Newsroom, if the
request is not met. A similar reduction in salary was recently forced
upon the non-Guild workers at The Times. The company's proposal also
includes making members take an additional 10 paid days off before the end
of the year.

The Times has indicated that it will consider counter proposals from the
Guild that would equal the savings of the wage reduction, which management
valued at $4.5 million dollars. The Council members shared their thoughts
on how the company's request could be satisfied without giving up our
shrinking wages that have already been depleted by additional contributions
to the Benefits Fund and the increasing cost of living in New York
Metropolitan Area.

It was largely agreed that the company should give us some guarantees
that layoffs would not be enacted just months after we agree to givebacks,
and that management should give us assurances that they will not award
bonuses to exempt workers and executives of the company while making us
take a wage reduction. Most on the Council believed that the company has
not gone far enough in eliminating superfluous managers and exempts who
hold few responsibilities and that most of the burdens for corporate
missteps have fallen on Guild members.

The Council unanimously voted to endorse efforts by the Guild to explore
all options that would satisfy the companies need to save $4.5 million in
a manner that would inflict the least pain on Guild members.

The Guild is preparing a survey in which rank and file members will be
able to express their preferences for how to respond to The Times request,
avoid layoffs and conserve valuable wages. The survey is expected to be
distributed electronically on or about Monday, April 13. Responses of the
Times paper-side workers will be recorded separately from those of the
Times Digital workers.

The Guild also wishes to thank the many members who have sent in their
thoughts on how to address the proposed wage reduction and/or layoffs.
There were many excellent and well-constructed ideas that will be helpful
in our quest for a solution to this problem.

In the end, after any negotiating with the company is finished, it is you,
the rank and file members, who will have the final vote on any agreement
with The Times that would change the terms of the existing Collective
Bargaining Agreement.

The Guild will continue to keep you informed on any developments of this

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