Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'Black Wednesday' declared as news service shifts; Newspaper Guild: 'It did not have to come to this'

About half the nearly 30 editors at the New York Times News Service lose their jobs over the next 24 hours, and the rest will be laid off in June, as the NYT Co. outsources their work to a lower-cost, non-union editing center in Gainesville, Fla., according to the Newspaper Guild of New York.

On its website, the Guild is calling today "Black Wednesday," the low point of a week marking "the demise of the 93-year-old News Service," after contract talks failed to keep the jobs in New York City.

"It did not have to come to this,'' the newsletter says, in recounting the history of those negotiations. "Under the Guild proposal, News Service employees would have agreed to a wage reduction of approximately 17% to about $75,000 a year, and they would work a 40-hour week. The company would have saved about $1.5 million in severance pay and the operation would have continued uninterrupted."

Today, the first News Service editor reports to work at 10 a.m., and the last leaves at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, the union says, adding: "We hope Guild members can find a few minutes throughout the day to visit the staffers at their desks on the ninth floor to say goodbye and wish them well."

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