Peter Kafka

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New York Times Cuts Salaries, Jobs


Last year, New York Times (NYT) executive editor Bill Keller told the newspaper’s newsroom that he would try very hard to not fire any of them, despite the paper’s worsening financial health. But he didn’t say anything about pay cuts.

The Times today announced that it would be cutting salaries of its nonunion employees from 2.5 percent to 5 percent and that it would be asking for “similar” cuts from its unionized newsroom employees “in a spirit of shared sacrifice and as a way to otherwise avoid layoffs in the newsroom.”

Translation: Cut your salaries or we’ll cut your jobs.

In addition, the Times has canned 100 people from the paper’s business operations. The sweetener: Those who get their salaries slashed also get extra vacation days.

The Times hasn’t officially unveiled its request/demand for givebacks from its unionized newsroom, but plans to do so this afternoon.

Here’s the internal memo:

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the global economic crisis is taking its toll on a broad range of businesses and sectors, here in the U.S. and around the world. We have reported in our own newspapers and on our own Web sites that the economy is likely to continue struggling throughout this year and possibly longer.

Given this economic outlook and the changes occurring in the media business, we, regrettably, must take even more steps to lower costs. We have been, and continue to, reorganize and reduce our staff, which means we are saying goodbye to many of our close colleagues. Now, in addition, we are lowering salaries through the end of this year for all remaining nonunion employees and, in exchange, providing additional time off. We plan to approach the Newspaper Guild in New York to ask for its participation in the program and to continue working with our unions in Boston and our other locations on lowering our costs, including wage reductions.

The salaries of all employees at The New York Times Media Group (with the exception of the IHT, which is working on other cost reduction measures), The Boston Globe, and Corporate in New York will be rolled back by 5%, starting this April, and these employees will receive 10 additional days off to use before the end of the year.

At the About Group, Baseline, Globe Direct, International Media Concepts, Regional Media Group, Shared Services Center and Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the approach is similar, with salaries being rolled back by 2.5% with five additional days off. We made the distinction between the two groups by taking into account location and other factors. Next year, we plan to return salaries to their current levels. Of course, such a decision depends on the state of our business.

Many of you will have questions about these actions. Your manager or department head has been briefed with more details and is your best source of information.

This was a very difficult decision to make. The environment we are in is the toughest we have seen in our years in business. Across our Company, you and your colleagues have worked hard to introduce innovative products and services, reduce expenses and improve productivity. We are deeply grateful for your efforts and proud of your achievements. As we take these painful steps together, we remain confident that our great Company will keep moving forward to better times.


Arthur & Janet