Wirecutter, which the Times describes as its “product recommendation service” offering consumers trusted advice on the latest merchandise being sold, published an article Thursday on the “75+ Best Early Black Friday Deals for 2021” ahead of the biggest shopping day of the season.
However, when the Times shared the article on Twitter, the paper faced significant blowback, including from several employees.
“100 PERCENT of @wirecutterunion is ON STRIKE starting today!” Times reporter Davey Alba exclaimed. These posts are brought to you by NYT assigning work to middle managers & freelancers instead of paying @wirecutterunion a TOTAL OF $300,000 in raises distributed across 66 PEOPLE! NYT has ONE BILLION DOLLARS in cash!”
Alba urged Twitter users, “Don’t click these links! Don’t shop through Wirecutter this Black Friday! Pass it along!”
Times tech reporter Sheera Frenkel tweeted, “Just a reminder that the @wirecutterunion is on strike. Clicking on any wirecutter links from today through Black Friday is crossing the picket line.”
“I’m supporting my coworkers at Wirecutter, who are striking this weekend,” Times tech reporter Kate Conger expressed.
“[Wirecutter] employees are on strike today. In solidarity, boycott the website,” Times breaking news reporter Isabella Grullón Paz similarly wrote.
“Don’t use Wirecutter this weekend while they strike! The audacity of NYT execs to refuse to bargain with Wirecutter workers, then promote Wirecutter content. Solidarity to @wirecutterunion,” Times data engineer Sarah Duncan tweeted before urging Twitter users to donate to a GoFundMe campaign dedicated to the Wirecutter strike.
Journalists from other news organizations as well as progressive activists like the New York City division of Democratic Socialists of America also expressed support for the Wirecutter staffers.
A spokesperson for the Times told Fox News, “The New York Times has a long history of productive relationships with unions to advance our shared objectives. We’re actively working with the Wirecutter Union to reach a collective bargaining agreement that continues to reward our employees for their work and contributions to The Times’s success, and we look forward to continuing those negotiations at the bargaining table in early December.”
The strike, which is set to go through Monday, is urging the public to “don’t cross the digital picket line” by not using Wirecutter during the busy shopping weekend.
“After two years of bargaining, The New York Times Company has continued to delay our negotiations through unfair labor practices and wage offers that significantly underpay our staff,” the Wirecutter Union stated on its website. “We, members of the Wirecutter Union, are fed up. We’re prepared to walk out during the Black Friday shopping week to win the fair contract we deserve.”
On Wednesday, the Daily Beast reported the Times was recruiting “scab” labor to keep its e-commerce division running during the strike by relying on “casual employees.”
“The New York Times is treating workers like they’re expendable and engaging in exactly the kind of worker exploitation they have condemned at other companies,” Wirecutter senior photo editor and interim vice-chair of the union Sarah Kobos told the Beast. “We’re appalled that the Times is relying on our non-union colleagues at the Times to work overtime during a holiday weekend rather than sitting down at the table with us and hammering out a contract once and for all.”
A Times spokesperson told the Beast “All of the casual employees were scheduled to work during this period before the strike was announced” and denied the outlet’s characterization of the use of “scab” labor.