New York Times, Guild turn to mediation

Jim Romenesko | The Newspaper Guild of New York | The Huffington Post
Jim Romenesko publishes a memo from New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. alerting staff that “the Company and the Guild have agreed to mediation in order to maximize the potential of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.”

Martin Scheinman, who once broke up a bar fight by convincing one combatant his cue stick was too expensive to smash upon another, will attempt to bring the sides together.

Romenesko also publishes a note from Times staffer Walter Baranger to colleagues that says digital and print employees need to stick together, even if they end up with separate contracts.

This means making sure that digital and print contract members talk to each other, compare goals and resolve to not approve one contract without approving the other, if a vote comes.

The Guild says it proposed Scheinman and tells members “A mediator cannot force a settlement, but instead uses persuasion to try to bring the parties to agreement.”

A mediator generally does not come up with his own proposals, but rather tries to push the parties closer to their respective positions. Neither side is bound by the mediator’s suggestions or proposals. And in the end, any tentative agreement that emerges from mediation will need the approval of the Guild bargaining committee and the ratification of a majority of Times Guild members before it becomes a contract.

The Huffington Post’s Katherine Fung publishes a memo from Times science reporter Donald G. McNeil that says “This is very good for the process – we were getting nowhere. Whether it is good for us remains to be seen.”

Previously: Guild: New York Times management canceled today’s negotiations, plans ‘final offer’ tomorrow | New York Times union members stage brief walkout to protest contract negotiations | New York Times management says it wants unified contract, like Guild

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