NY Times' Wirecutter Union Demands Pay Raise to Coincide With Paywall Launch

Unionized staffers at Times-owned product-review site react to company’s new paywall plans

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Unionized staffers at the New York Times’ Wirecutter are demanding a pay increase to go along with the site’s new paywall.

On Twitter Wednesday, the union released a statement that said, “Today, @wirecutter launched a paywall for the guides that our unit members write, edit, shoot, produce, fact check, and copy edit. We agree that our work is worth paying for! But the financial gains should be reflected in our members’ paychecks, not just the company’s coffers.”

The union statement came one day after it was announced that the product review site will be partially paywalled, with subscribers paying $5 every four weeks for stand-alone subscriptions, or $40 annually. Subscribers to the Times’ premium digital service or home delivery will still get unlimited access to Wirecutter and won’t see a price increase. The union noted in the statement that readers will only be asked to subscribe after reading 10 articles in a single month.

“Our business is stronger than ever, with record numbers of readers and revenue. Subscriptions will add to that bottom line. And, of course, our parent company, @nytimes, is doing better than ever with more than $800 million in the bank and millions in dividends for investors,” the statement went on. “But at the bargaining table, management continues to counter our proposed salaries with offensive, dispiriting figures well below our competitors across the industry AND our colleagues at the Times.”

The union, which falls under the NewsGuild of New York, added some of its past finding, which revealed that the median salary of a Wirecutter Union member is $43,000 less than that of a New York Times newsroom employee, although Wirecutter pieces appear alongside theirs in print and online.

“[By the way], a @wirecutter subscription costs the same as one for NYT Cooking, but those colleagues make significantly more than any of our unit’s members—and we deserve the same,” they said before encouraging readers to lobby on their behalf to Times leadership.

A representative for the New York Times did not immediately return a request for comment.

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