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Media Meltdowns

Here Is A List Of Weenies Who Work At The New York Times

Two groups of men push on opposite sides of a large ball, on top of which sits a man who is losing his balance in a still from the silent film, 'Going Great'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Earlier today, The Daily Beast published a story about NewsGuild members circulating a letter that opposes a proposed union dues increase of less than one half of one percent. The proposed changes, which would raise dues from 1.3846 percent to 1.75 percent of a member’s salary, and also eliminate a dues cap which prevents the union from collecting dues on income over $140,140 per year, would be the first revision to the dues structure in the union’s 88-year history. To give you an idea how how silly it is for the New York Times‘ best-paid staffers to be throwing a collective tantrum over a pittance of a dues increase, even hiring lawyers to help them fight it, here’s an example: For someone making $200,000 a year, the proposed hike would result in that person’s annual dues increasing by about $4 a day.

The Beast reported that New York Times politics writer Nick Confessore was “among the most vocally opposed to the dues increase,” and also published the names of about two dozen star (and presumably well-compensated) New York Times reporters who oppose the increase, which included Maggie Haberman, Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, Eric Lipton, Katie Rosman, Kenneth Vogel, Mark Leibovich, Cecilia Kang, and Trip Gabriel.

Defector obtained the full letter, which was signed by more than a hundred Times (and a small handful of Reuters) staffers as of Wednesday. Below is the letter and its signatories; the names of people who work for New York Times sports section are in bold, as a service to our readers to remind them where these writers and reporters stand on solidarity the next time they write about labor in sports.

Dear Union Colleagues:

In the coming days, you will receive a ballot in the mail from the Guild asking you to vote on a proposal to raise your annual union dues by at least 26 percent. This will cost many of us between $400 and $500 more for every year we remain in the union. The highest earners in our Guild will pay more than $1,000 extra per year. 

The Guild has said its executive committee voted to recommend permanently raising our dues to ensure our union has the money needed to fight for and organize new shops across the region.

We the undersigned stand with all of our colleagues and shops, new and old alike, and agree that the Guild must not back away from helping the newly organized. But the proposed dues increase is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and we firmly oppose it. We urge you to vote ‘no.’

Here’s why:

Five years ago, Guild leaders began a strikingly successful effort to organize new shops and expand our membership. That spoke to a broad hunger among those in our business for union protections and we salute that. But the Guild never figured out how to fund this ambitious expansion.

Instead, it has run ever larger deficits and depleted our union’s reserves by more than half. Payroll at the Guild has doubled as we’ve added organizers and as spending on contract negotiations has grown ever faster as the number of our new members has grown four-fold, to nearly 1,200.

This is not sustainable. New members only pay dues when they win their first contracts, and that can take many years. For instance, new Guild members  at Conde Nast are in the third year of negotiations and recently took a strike vote.  

For now, the Guild’s existing dues-paying members — you — are paying for this expansion effort with no clear projections for how much it will cost nor when new dues will begin to sluice into our coffers. 

Guild’s leaders have provided few details, other than to say they plan to hire more organizers.In fact, a top Guild official recently told us the Guild never writes a budget that extends more than one quarter ahead and that there is no “reliable way to predict” future revenues and costs.

That is an alarming response. No business looking to expand would simply shrug its collective shoulders and say: “Revenues? Costs? Sorry, no real idea…” 

Rather than give the Guild a blank check to spend more of our money, we need to consider a proposal for higher dues in a careful accounting of likely costs and revenues.  

The dues hike, coupled with removal of a cap on dues above $140,140, will not pay for the Guild’s current expansion efforts, the recruiting of yet more members and the replenishment of union’s reserves, as the Guild’s leadership has promised. 

There simply isn’t enough money to go around. The increase is unlikely to even raise enough money to cover this year’s projected deficit.

There are many alternatives, including trimming expansion efforts to slow spending, removing the cap on dues above $140,140, introducing a one-time assessment to replenish the reserve fund and assessing dues on overtime hours. We can also seek more help from our International Union. All of this should be grounded in transparency and careful budgeting with benchmarks going forward. 

We will not leave any organized shop behind. We take our obligations very seriously. But we need to slow down. 

In this coming referendum, the Guild leadership has allowed non-dues paying members to vote on the increase. It is critical that those of us who will immediately pay these higher dues make our voices heard. A majority of votes cast — from across all of the Guild’s media outlets, dues-paying and not — will decide the referendum. 

Please return your paper ballot that will come in the mail. Vote ‘no’ so the Guild can develop a more sensible, sustainable plan to ensure our future.

FYI: The vote will be conducted by mail ballot, on a timeline to be determined in the coming days by the Guild. Ballots will be mailed to each member’s address on file with the Guild. To check or update your mailing address on file, contact Tim Try at tim@nyguild.org. If you do not receive your ballot or need a replacement, contact Global Election Services (Phone: 1-877-455-9367, E-mail: helpdesk@voteges.com). 

Signed,

Ken Belson — NYT

Patti Cohen — NYT

Nick Confessore — NYT

Michael Powell — NYT

Reed Abelson — NYT

Daniel Adkinson — NYT

Binya Appelbaum — NYT

Kim Barker — NYT

Julian Barnes — NYT

Tony Barone — Reuters

Nellie Bowles — NYT

Dan Barry — NYT

Susan Beachy – NYT

Tara Siegel Bernard — NYT

Jacob Bernstein — NYT

Nellie Bowles — NYT 

Scott Cacciola — NYT

Brian X. Chen — NYT

David Chen — NYT

Roselle Chen — Reuters

Helene Cooper — NYT

Michael Corkery — NYT

Karen Crouse — NYT

Conor Dougherty — NYT

Joe Drape — NYT

Jesse Drucker — NYT

Steve Eder — NYT

Sydney Ember — NYT

Kevin Flynn — NYT

Henry Fountain — NYT 

Matt Futterman — NYT

Ellen Gabler — NYT

Trip Gabriel — NYT

David Gelles — NYT

James Glanz — NYT

Adam Goldman — NYT

Maggie Haberman — NYT

Richard Harris — NYT

Svea Herbst — Reuters

Tiffany Hsu — NYT

Lara Jakes — NYT

Cecilia Kang — NYT

Jodi Kantor — NYT

Kate Kelly — NYT

Corey Kilgannon — NYT

Gwen Knapp — NYT

Serge Kovaleski — NYT

Cliff Krauss — NYT

Nick Kulish — NYT

Michael LaForgia — NYT

Sharon LaFraniere — NYT

Mark Leibovich — NYT

Eric Lipton — NYT

Juliet Macur — NYT

Sapna Maheshwari — NYT

Jonathan Mahler — NYT

Jonathan Martin — NYT

Mark Mazzetti — NYT

Patrick McGeehan — NYT

Shawn McCreesh — NYT

Mike McIntire — NYT

Tim McLaughlin — Reuters

Wesley Morris — NYT

Jack Nicas — NYT

Dennis Overbye — NYT

Michael Paulson — NYT

Azi Paybarah — NYT

Amy Padnani — NYT

Ivan Penn — NYT

Randy Pennell — NYT

Bill Pennington — NYT

Jeremy Peters — NYT

Richard Perez-Pena — NYT

Matt Phillips — NYT

Eduardo Porter — NYT

Ben Protess — NYT

Roni Caryn Rabin — NYT

William Rashbaum — NYT

Lynda Richardson — NYT

Campbell Robertson — NYT

Katie Rogers — NYT

Matthew Rosenberg — NYT

Katie Rosman — NYT

Michael Rothfeld — NYT

Rebecca Ruiz — NYT

Bedel Saget — NYT

Richard Sandomir — NYT

David Sanger — NYT

Stephanie Saul — NYT

Charlie Savage —  NYT

Jennifer Steinhauer — NYT

Dionne Searcey — NYT

Michael Shear — NYT

Ernest Scheyder — Reuters

Jennifer Schuessler — NYT

Ben Shpigel — NYT

Dan Slotnik — NYT

Ben Sisario — NYT

Liam Stack – NYT

Emily Steel — NYT

Hiroko Tabuchi — NYT

Megan Twohey — NYT

Neil Vigdor — NYT

Kenneth P. Vogel — NYT

Dan Wakin — NYT

David Waldstein — NYT

Joe Ward — NYT

Nancy Wartik — NYT

Elizabeth Williamson — NYT

Michael Wines — NYT

Billy Witz — NYT

Karen Yourish — NYT