New York Guild president Bill O’Meara tells me that the $4.5 million one-year consulting fee for departing New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson “was a surprise to us as it was to our members” and “they’re not happy about that when the company is still demanding major givebacks, including a freeze in the pension plan.”
“They’re offering basically no raises and lots of cutbacks. They want people to work a longer work week with no increase in compensation.”
The Times contract expired on March 30, “and we have not had serious negotiations for months now. Our last official bargaining session was in June.”
The union chief adds that subcommittees have been meeting with the Times, and “there has been progress on smaller issues.”
(I have asked the Times to comment. UPDATE: “We will decline comment,” says a spokesman.)
UPDATE: Another union has criticized the consulting fee:
New York Times Workers Blast Janet Robinson’s $4.5m “Golden Parachute”
While Robinson Is Getting a Huge Pay-out, The Times Demands That Middle-Class Workers Take a Pay Cut
Do As We Say, Not as We Do: Editorial Board Calls for Restraint on CEO Pay as Robinson Makes Millions
New York, NY – A union representing workers who prepare the New York Times for delivery today called on the Times to reconsider its $4.5 million golden parachute for Janet Robinson, the Times CEO who announced her retirement yesterday. The payment, ostensibly for a year of consulting, comes as the Times is calling for a pay cut for middle class Times workers.
Arthur DeIanni, President of the Allied Printing Trades Council of NY and of New York Mailers’ Union Local 6 issued the following statement:
“The Times likes to slam CEO excess, until they are the ones doing it. It is offensive to the hard-working men and women who make sure the Times is ready for delivery to millions of people throughout the NYC metropolitan region that the board of the Times would give Janet Robinson a $4.5 million golden parachute while offering a 26% pay cut to middle-class Times workers.
“The Times management should listen to its editorial board, which has criticized skyrocketing CEO pay, saying: ‘It is clear that C.E.O. pay has skyrocketed while workers’ pay has stagnated; it is also clear that skewed pay and rising income inequality correlate to bubbles and crashes.’
“We remain willing to sit down and discuss a reasonable settlement to this labor dispute. Hopefully, Times management can take a relatively small part of Robinson’s golden parachute and use it to pay middle-class Times workers a fair wage.”