When it comes to unions, the New York Times is conflicted to say the least. In the political arena, the paper is vociferously pro-union. Thus, its editorial board has denounced Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s Republicans on a number of occasions, such as this August 10, 2011 editorial titled “Wisconsin’s Warning to Union-Busters:”
Five months after Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pushed through a law stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, the Republican Party has paid a price. …But the Times, just like the people of Wisconsin, employs union labor. When it comes to its own employees, the New York Times Company sings an entirely different tune. Today’s New York Post reports on the bitter hostility between CEO Pinch Sulzburger and the paper’s labor force:
Mr. Walker and his colleagues tried to paint the unions as unwilling to sacrifice a bit of their pensions and health benefits in rough fiscal times. It was heartening to see more than 160,000 Wisconsin voters reject that false notion.
“The Times is in labor turmoil,” wrote health and science reporter Donald McNeil. “Journalists are openly angry. Even the sacred Page One meeting has had a protest” …No doubt the Times editorialists would explain that their situation is different: their paper can’t remain solvent if it continues paying for “lucrative retirement and pension programs” to which union members do not adequately contribute. So why can’t they see that the citizens of Wisconsin and other states are in exactly the same position?
Negotiations with the Newspaper Guild, in which the company is proposing to gut the company’s once lucrative retirement and pension programs, remain acrimonious.
The Guild, with over 1,000 members, has been without a contract since March 31, 2011.