New York Times Accused of Wage Theft as Paper Prepares to Remedy Unpaid Overtime | Exclusive

The NewsGuild of New York accused the New York Times of wage theft for $122,742.77 in unpaid overtime in an internal memo to union members obtained by TheWrap on Wednesday.

The memo came as the newspaper prepares to remedy the overtime gap and pay those owed for additional hours.

According to the memo, union members noticed a “major flaw in the company’s system for paying overtime” and approached management about the issue. The issue stemmed from when Times employees submitted overtime hours through Workday, their manager was notified to approve or deny the request. However, if the manager “never took action on the notification or missed the deadline, that left the hours in limbo.”

“The company simply held on to employees’ money — even after being notified of the payroll glitch,” the guild said. “That’s wage theft, and it’s illegal.”

The guild said that the Times was notified of the overtime payment gap in August 2023. As of October, the company provided a list of missing payments for 2022 and 2023, which came to a total of $122,742.17 in unpaid overtime and comp time owed to union members, several of which had already departed the Times.

“The company has determined that approximately 300 employees were not paid for a small number of hours due to an error in payroll processing,” a Times spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap. “Everyone affected will be paid in the next payroll cycle (Thursday, March 14 for most employees) for all time that was not paid.”

Last week, the Times’ executive director of labor relations Chris Biegner told union leadership that “monies owed will be paid back to the beginning,” without expanding further about the details of the plan and who qualifies. The union said that management has previously ignored repeated requests over the span of the last five months to provide further information about the plan.

According to the union, the company originally said it would not make overtime payments to those who have since left the newspaper, however, after additional union pressure, the company will make those payments as well.

“We do not know who is owed for years before 2022, or how much, because the company has refused to give us that information,” the guild wrote in the memo to members. “If you believe you are owed money or have questions about this, we urge you to speak to your manager and/or department administrator.”

The guild has also urged management to not only make owed payments but to fix the system that caused the issue in the first place. “We are baffled that it still has not made that seemingly simple change,” the guild writes.

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