Contract negotiations between the New York Times Company and its Newspaper Guild employees are continuing this week, with the Guild admitting that a new proposal is “slightly less offensive” than previously proposed cuts. The latest plan would give Guild members a one percent pay increase, keep their medical plan intact, and drop a proposal to extend the work week from 35 hours to 40. Hold on a second, any practitioner or consumer of journalism might be saying to themselves: A Times reporter is only expected to work 35 hours a week?
At Politico, Dylan Byers writes, “I’m going to walk out on the limb of opinion here — as a young reporter — and suggest that the 35-hour workweek is a pipedream.” (We follow a lot of Times writers on Twitter and they do seem to work a ton.) Indeed, the company admits, “This proposal will cost us money, especially on the digital side where eight-hour days are the norm (as they are in much of the world outside The Times) … “
But according to the Guild president, most people who file for overtime are not editorial employees. And yet they can, too! “Many of our members routinely work more than 40 hours — mostly reporters. Some put in for the overtime, some don’t,” he told Politico. “But a reporter who works more than 35 hours is entitled to put in for the overtime.” Anyway, it’s pocket change, he added, compared to former CEO Janet Robinson’s exit package, which is worth more than $20 million. That’s a lot of journalism.