Friday, October 12, 2012

NYTimes to mediate with Newspaper Guild

The New York Times and the Newspaper Guild of New York will mediate to hammer out a contract according to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper's publisher, who broke the news to staff in an email (though there was apparently some dissatisfaction that the reporters were scooped on the story about the coming mediation). This attempt at ADR comes after employees staged a brief walkout and representatives for management walked out of a negotiating session. One correspondent praised the development, explaining to his colleagues that a mediator listens to both sides, leaning on each of them to give "bit by bit until a deal is reached." Officially, the company and the union have agreed to mediation "in order to maximize the potential of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.” The chosen dispute resolver, primarily an arbitrator, Martin Scheinman, supposedly broke up a bar fight once by convincing one combatant his cue stick was too expensive to smash upon another. 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." According to the internal communication, "the union proposed Sheinman not because he’s pro-union but because he’s said to be super-smart. He’s a private mediator – he is paid by both sides to try to bring them to a deal. There are Federal mediators too, but the one assigned to this area apparently is not respected much." It seems there may be internal discord among NYT digital and print contract members, all of whom need to vote to approve a new deal. See stories and