Wirecutter Goes On Strike

I've talked about Wirecutter before and how it's one of the three tools I use when doing any online shopping. The site has been around for years and does fantastic work. I never have to spend hours figuring out which item is best. I read one article and then make my purchase.

All is not rosy for Wirecutter as the Wirecutter Union announced a strike lasting from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. The strike was due to being treated poorly by the NY Times. The union has asked people NOT to shop via affiliate links that helps generate revenue on Wirecutter.

Wirecutter was always treated as a second-class citizen, isolated in its own Slack, its own offices, and its own reporting structure under Perpich. It never joined the newsroom, and its work was openly sneered at by some longtime staffers. Many Times staffers don’t believe their work is journalism at all. The pay scale, as well, is substantially different from Times salaries. Even Times fellows, which are yearlong full-time jobs in the newsroom designed to train emerging journalists, receive a significantly higher salary than the starting rate for Wirecutter writers.

Choire Sicha writing for New York Magazine

Imagine working for a company that is owned by one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world and being excluded. Meanwhile NYT profits off Wirecutter's work even moreso now because it's part of a NYT subscription. You would want equal pay and treatment as a NYT employee and not walled off as if you're on an island by yourself. A flimsy reply as to the lower salary is facepalm-city.

We have been told at the bargaining table that @wirecutterunion members “don’t do New York Times work” as an explanation for our much smaller salaries.

Jim Austin, Wirecutter writer

Mr. Austin's tweet is accompanied by photos of extensive holiday guides published in print in the New York Times.

For all the noise Wirecutter's union is making, I hope there can be a solution that gets them what they deserve and brings some piece at NYT. Wirecutter is essential to so many people. There is no reason to undervalue the people who do that work.