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Wirecutter Workers Threaten Work Stoppage Starting on Black Friday

Union members at Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times Company, said on Monday that they were prepared to stop work during the busy shopping period around Black Friday if a deal for a contract was not reached.

Staff at Wirecutter unionized in 2019, and the Times Company voluntarily recognized the union. In the two years since, the union has been negotiating with the company for a collective bargaining agreement.

The Wirecutter union said it was seeking higher salary minimums and guaranteed raises.

“The business has grown quite extensively during the pandemic,” Nick Guy, the chair of the union, said in an interview. “We’re now on the front page of the New York Times website daily, and even throughout all of that we haven’t seen meaningful increases to wages.”

The union is seeking a $58,000 minimum salary and guaranteed annual increases of at least 3 percent, Mr. Guy said. The company has offered guaranteed annual raises of 0.5 percent, he said.

More than 90 percent of the approximately 70 employees in the union, who work remotely, have pledged to not work during the holiday shopping period after Thanksgiving if a deal is not reached by Black Friday on Nov. 26, Mr. Guy said. The union, which did not say how long the stoppage would last, will also ask supporters not to shop through the site from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, Nov. 29.

“It has just dragged on for so long, and the progress we’re seeing has slowed,” Mr. Guy said of the negotiations, adding: “Without action like this, I don’t think we’ll be able to reach a contract we’ll be happy with.”

A spokeswoman for the Times Company said: “We look forward to continuing to work toward an agreement with the Wirecutter union in our standard process at the negotiating table.”

“Our compensation proposal is more generous than what they’ve described and seeks to maintain a similar compensation structure for Wirecutter employees with programs in place for others at the Times Company,” she added.

The Times is facing labor fights on two other fronts. A group of tech workers, including software engineers and product managers, announced the formation of a union in April. That union has filed for an election through the National Labor Relations Board after The Times declined to voluntarily recognize it. And the Times Guild, which has been in place since 1940 and represents about 1,300 reporters and editors at The Times, is bargaining for a new contract. The unions representing technology workers, Times journalists and Wirecutter employees are affiliates of the NewsGuild of New York.

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