Aug 15, 2023 - Economy

Scoop: NYT union staffers brief WaPo union as it considers a walkout

Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Members of the New York Times' union on Monday evening briefed several dozen staffers from The Washington Post union about best practices they learned from The Times' union’s walkout last December, three sources familiar with the meeting told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting suggests The Post’s union, which has grown in recent months following layoffs, is seriously considering a walkout as it continues to negotiate with management over a contract.

  • Those negotiations have dragged on for more than a year.

Catch up quick: More than 1,100 members of The Times' union, which includes mostly editorial and some business staffers, walked out on the job last year, a move that gained nationwide attention.

Details: In a note inviting union staffers to participate in the meeting, the Washington Post Guild said: "This summer, our journalistic siblings at The New York Times secured a historic contract that includes a $65k salary floor, expanded benefits and across-the-board raises of 10 percent or more. Now they're here to tell us how they did it — and to help us do the same."

  • During the meeting, Times union staffers explained to Post union staffers that their focus on three core objectives — wages, health care and retirement — helped the union gauge broad-based support needed to make the walkout impactful.
  • They also walked the Post union staffers through the tactics they used to drive support for a walkout within the union.
  • The Washington Post Guild, which is part of the Baltimore-Washington NewsGuild, represents more than 1,000 employees of the Washington Post, according to its website.
  • In April, hundreds of Washington Post employees in D.C. and around the country stepped away from work for a brief period to push the Post's management on union talks.

What they're saying: "When The Post is stuck proposing minimum salaries of $34k, we of course want to learn how our union siblings at The Times negotiated a contract with a much higher salary floor of $65k," the Post Guild said in a statement to Axios.

  • "By working together, we can raise the standards for everyone in our industry," the statement added.
  • The Washington Post didn't provide comment for this story.

Zoom out: Cross-newsroom briefings like this are common, according to a NewsGuild source.

  • The Guild regularly facilitates sessions for unions from different outlets to learn from one another.

The big picture: Strikes have become a bigger part of union negotiation tactics in recent years, causing production delays and editorial disruptions.

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