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NYT Contract Negotiations ‘Slightly Less Offensive’

The Newspaper Guild of New York says that the latest proposal from New York Times management is “slightly less offensive” but still retains a number of key provisions the Guild is unhappy about: frozen pension accruals, cuts to severance pay, and overtime paid on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis.

The paper’s current contract with its newsroom expired in 2011 and negotiations have been continuing since then.

The management did mention pay raises, though: a raise for this year (2012) of one percent upon contract ratification and a one-percent bonus in 2013.

“Guild members are angry over huge executive severance packages, alleged secret bonus plans and secret pension plans for top managers,” guild president Bill O’Meara said in a memo. “That’s against a backdrop of recent news of more than 400,000 paid digital subscribers, and paying off Carlos Slim. The picture for The Times has gotten a lot brighter – yet the people who produce the product are being treated poorly. This is not a time to have a fight with the people you need the most.”

The Times is also offering a 3 percent 401(k) contribution for employees with less than 10 years of service and a 5 percent contribution for those with more than 10 years. Guild actuaries (yes, those exist) say, though, that the Times needs to kick in a 12 percent contribution to match the loss of the pension, which is (we think) unheard of.

The guild meets Thursday to formulate a counterproposal.

Jim Romenesko has the memo.

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