A number of New York Times staffers held a “quiet protest” in the hallways of the building yesterday to express their dismay about the way contract talks have been going. Today, executive editor Jill Abramson and other editors have issued a response.

In a letter from “Jill, Dean and John,” who we take to be Jill Abramson, managing editor Dean Baquet, and managing editor for operations John Geddes, the Times brass say that “Negotiations are certainly best left to those at the bargaining tables.”

The letter, obtained by Romenesko, isn’t all dismissive. “We all acknowledge that the push-pull of the negotiating process can be wearying. But we have been here before. Like you and our colleagues on the negotiating team, we are committed to finding a solution…We thought this was a good moment for us to underscore our commitment to you and to affirm our faith in the future of The Times. After all, we are all in this together.” But it also takes an arrogant tone at the end:

“The New York Times stands almost alone in being able to offer talented journalists a promising and fulfilling career. We are the destination for those committed to the highest standards of excellence.”

Ira Stoll, former managing editor of the New York Sun, writes, in essence, WHAT?

For the benefit of Times employees who might feel trapped by the message from “Jill, Dean, and John” — first names only when delivering that iron-fist-in-velvet-glove management message — here are just a few of the many other places (I am sure I am forgetting some) that can offer talented journalists promising and fulfilling careers:

The Wall Street Journal
ProPublica
Texas Monthly
The New Yorker
Time magazine
Sports Illustrated
NPR

Stoll goes on; we won’t. But the message is a sound one, we think.