December 8, 1962: The New York City Newspaper Strike begins. The strike lasted for 114 days and finally was resolved with striking workers back on the job on March 31, 1963. On November 1, 1962, The Newspaper Guild went on strike against the Daily News as it was the worst offender of the New York City papers. The paper was able to keep in print by using the presses of the New York Journal American and the paper and union members came to an agreement of an $8/week increase in pay over a two year period. On December 4, negotiators who spoke for the nine major newspapers in the city offered a deal of increase in wages and benefits of $8/week over a two year period along with procedures to cut costs for the papers. Union leaders rejected the deal and asked for $16/week over the next two years with a deadline of this date.
At 2 AM, the strike began when workers of the New York Typographical Union walked out of the Daily News, New York Journal American, The New York Times, and New York World-Telegram & Sun. Bert Powers, the union president also had five additional papers voluntarily join in the fight. The New York Daily Mirror, New York Herald Tribune, New York Post and both the Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Daily Press all suspended operations. The papers kept their offer of an $8/week raise and the unions then asked for $38.82 raise in wages and benefits over the next two years.
Many publications either started up or increased circulation during the strike. Some new forms of print came out such as The New York Review of Books which began publication on February 21, 1963. Others publications which had already been in print found their circulation increased with the major papers were out on strike. The Brooklyn Eagle saw an increase from 50,000 prior to the strike to 390,000 during the strike. There were lasting effects as the circulation dropped back to 154,000 post-strike, still greater than three times their prior circulation which they were able to maintain until their own deliverers’ strike on June 27, 1963 which effectively ended the paper’s run.
The New York Post withdrew from the Publishers Association and resumed printing on March 4, 1963. The Mayor of New York City and labor negotiator Theodore Kheel were able to work out an agreement with the unions which gave them wage and benefit increases of $12.63/week. Of the four original papers which had begun the strike, two are still in print but two went out of business within a couple years of the strike ending. Analysis by The New York Times showed the nine papers had a loss of over $100 million in advertising and circulation revenue while the more than 19,000 workers had lost $50 million in wages and benefits. By the end of September 1963, the six daily papers had lost 11.9% of their circulation for weekdays and 8.3% for Sundays.
A magazine or a newspaper is a shop. Each is an experiment and represents a new focus, a new ratio between commerce and intellect. – John Jay Chapman
A newspaper is not just for reporting the news, it’s to get people mad enough to do something about it. – Mark Twain
The newspaper fits the reader’s program while the listener must fit the broadcaster’s program. – Kingman Brewster, Jr.
With the newspaper strike on, I wouldn’t consider dying. – Bette Davis
Also on this day: John is Dead – In 1980, John Lennon was murdered.
Library – In 1609, the first continental European public library opened.
Da Bears – In 1940, the Bears and Redskins played football.
Women’s Work – In 1660, Othello opened with a woman playing the part of Desdemona, the first time that happened.
Think Tank – In 1927, the Brookings Institution was formed.