The New York Times says it will lay off 70 people from its newsroom if employees who belong to the Newspaper Guild don’t agree to take pay cuts.
We expect the Guild, which met with Times management yesterday, to make all the necessary concessions.
So far, Guild leadership has come up with three reasons why members should consider not taking the pay cuts. With the exception of No. 2, they’re weak.
Reason #1: Guild leadership says it already offered the Times a way to save $30 million to $40 million per year, suggesting it bring another Guild shop in as a participating employer to the Times’ pension fund. Problem is, we spoke to industry sources and they say the meat of that proposal was a plan to merely defer payments to the pension plan. That doesn’t save the Times any money in the long run.
Reason #2: Guild leadership says that pay cut or no, layoffs could come anyway:
It must be stressed that the management proposal comes with no guarantee that layoffs will be averted. What if we agree to the pay cut and the company goes ahead and cuts jobs anyway? That would be a double-whammy for those losing their jobs, since severance pay, which is calculated from employees’ final six months of pay, would be reduced as well.
Reason #3: Guild leadership says members should call the Times’ bluff. It can’t afford to cut the newsroom right now, goes the logic. “Job cuts would weaken the paper’s newsgathering strength at a time when its journalistic excellence is more crucial than ever.”