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New York Times union calls on readers to join ‘digital picket line’ as strike begins


The unionized workers of the New York Times are encouraging readers to join a "digital picket line" by not engaging with any Times content on Thursday to support their one-day strike against the paper.

Amanda Hess, the second vice president for the NewsGuild of New York, confirmed that more than 1000 unionized Times staff will go on strike for 24 hours on Dec. 8. In solidarity, Hess asked her Twitter followers to follow them by boycotting the New York Times that day.

"We’re asking readers to not engage in any @nytimes platforms tomorrow and stand with us on the digital picket line! Read local news. Listen to public radio. Make something from a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak," Hess tweeted. 

The New York Times is preparing for a strike on Thursday.

The New York Times is preparing for a strike on Thursday.(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo)

Times reporter and union member Maggie Astor followed up with a tweet with almost identical language.

"Barring a breakthrough, @nytimes staff will walk out from midnight to 11:59pm Thursday, Dec. 8. We’re asking readers to stand with us on the digital picket line and not visit any NYT platforms tomorrow. Read local news. Make something from a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak," Astor tweeted.

The New York Times Guild, the paper's union for media workers, endorsed the message soon after: "If @NYTimesGuild members don't have a deal soon, we’re asking readers to not engage in any @nytimes platforms tomorrow and stand with us on the digital picket line! Read local news. Listen to public radio. Pull out a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak."

This strike will mark the largest work stoppage at the paper since 1978.

Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman got in on the action, tweeting, "Tonight at midnight, 1,100 workers @nytimes are going on a 24 hour strike. Here's what you can do… Do not engage with any of the New York Times platforms. DO NOT CROSS THE DIGITAL PICKET LINE. Get your news from other sources and tell your friends to do the same. @nyguild"

The announcement followed a series of failed negotiations with management over multiple issues such as pay increases, health insurance and pension plans. While the union threatened to go on strike as far back as Friday, it appears that negotiations to end the strike have not come to fruition.

Frustrations with negotiations were first reported in August by the New York Post after more than two years without a pay hike. Members of the union also insisted that workers be able to retain the option to work remotely indefinitely as opposed to the New York Times’ original mandatory deadline of July 2023.

The New York Post also reported that the walkout could disrupt publications outside the New York Times, as well. If the trade unions follow through, the New York Post, Newsday and the regional editions of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today could also be affected as they outsource their printing to the Times’ College Point printing plant.

In the meantime, managers at the New York Times have reportedly been preparing for the possibility of a massive walkout on Thursday. According to Vanity Fair, staffers and reporters have been asked to file stories earlier while internal messaging from chief human resources officer Jacqueline Welch has said workers will not be paid for the day if they take part in the strike.

1619 Project founder and NY Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones will speak at a rally outside New York Times offices.

1619 Project founder and NY Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones will speak at a rally outside New York Times offices. (Photo by: Jeff Scheart/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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