1962–1963 New York City newspaper strike

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The 1962–1963 New York City Newspaper Strike was a strike action within the newspaper industry of New York City which ran from December 8, 1962, until March 31, 1963, lasting for a total of 114 days. Besides low wages, the unions were resisting automation of the printing presses.

Preliminary actions[edit]

A preliminary action took place when The Newspaper Guild went on strike against the Daily News just after midnight on November 1, 1962. Guild vice president Thomas J. Murphy indicated that the Daily News had been singled out as the union's first target "because there we have had more aggravation, more agitation, more issues, more disputes and more anti-unionism from management".[1] The Daily News was able to keep printing on November 2, 1962, by using the presses of the New York Journal-American.[2] Workers at the Daily News settled their issues, accepting raises of $8 per week in talks mediated by United States Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz, with employees receiving an added $4.25 per week in the first year, with an additional $3.75 weekly in the subsequent year, allowing the paper to start with a print run of 1.5 million copies, short of its nation-leading normal circulation of 2,075,000 copies.[3]

On December 4, 1962, negotiators representing the nine major newspapers offered a deal that combined an $8 increase in wages and benefits spread over two years, combined with changes in work procedures that would cut costs for the papers.[4] Union negotiators rejected the offer from the newspapers the following day, setting their requirement of a $16 weekly raise over two years, and set a deadline of midnight on December 8 if an agreement could not be reached before then.[5] Representatives of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, including Frank H. Brown and Stephen Schlossberg, attempted to help both sides reach agreement on December 6, with "the public interest" cited as justifying federal intervention.[6]

The strike began at 2:00 AM on December 8, when workers from the New York Typographical Union, led by their president Bert Powers, walked out from the Daily News, New York Journal American, The New York Times, and New York World-Telegram & Sun. In addition, 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 on a voluntary basis. The newspapers kept their offer of an $8 increase per week spread over two years, while the unions were looking for a $38.82 increase in the two-year period.[7]

Alternative media[edit]

A number of publications were created or benefited from the strike. The New York Review of Books was created during the strike, issuing its first copies on February 21, 1963, with circulation reaching 75,000 during the strike, before retreating to between 50,000 and 60,000 following the strike. The Brooklyn Eagle saw circulation grow from 50,000 to 390,000 before shrinking to 154,000 before it was hit with a deliverers' strike on June 27, 1963.[8]

WABC-FM adopted a prototypical all-news radio format during the 114-day strike, preceding WINS as the first station with an all-news format in New York City.[9]

Leonard Andrews, employed by a credit card company, the Uni-Serv Corporation, approached the company's customers about advertising in a publication he created called The New York Standard, the largest of several alternative papers published during the strike, reaching a peak circulation of more than 400,000 and appearing for 67 issues.[10]

Ending the strike[edit]

Four papers had originally been the target of the strike, but five other papers suspended printing on a voluntary basis. The New York Post was able to resume printing on March 4, 1963, by withdrawing from the Publishers Association: they would be bound by whatever settlement the other papers made, and would have no further voice in negotiating it. The New York Herald Tribune published a statement that they had chosen not to resume publishing on the same terms because of the risk that the eventual settlement would put them out of business.[8][11]

New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and labor negotiator Theodore W. Kheel were eventually able to forge an agreement to end the strike after several attempts. The first deal offered for ratification by the printers' union was rejected on March 17.[12] In another vote on March 24 they agreed to settle,[13] but by this time the photoengravers' union had decided to join the strike, and they did not settle until March 31.[14][15]

As publication resumed, the first headline in the Daily News was "We Have News for You".[15]

The printers would receive wage and benefit increases of $12.63 per week. Kheel noted that the contracts for all ten newspaper unions would expire on the same date in 1965, emphasizing the importance of addressing the festering labor issues.[8]


An analysis performed by The New York Times showed that the nine affected newspapers lost a total of more than $100 million in advertising and circulation revenues and that the industry's more than 19 thousand employees lost $50 million in wages and benefits.[8]

After the strike was ended, both the Times and Herald Tribune doubled their price to 10 cents, one of the factors that had cut readership. As of September 30, 1963, circulation of six daily New York papers was down 11.9% on weekdays and 8.3% on Sundays based on reports from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The John F. Kennedy assassination in November 1963 helped bring readers back to newspapers.[8]

The New York Daily Mirror, owned by the Hearst Corporation, shut down on October 15, 1963, and sold its name and goodwill to the Daily News. The Mirror's management blamed the closure on the effects of the strike aggravating existing problems at the paper.[8]

Cue magazine (now part of New York magazine) saw weekly circulation rise by 35,000 a year after the strike started and TV Guide had seen a jump of 350,000. Time saw New York City circulation rise by 10%.[8]


  1. ^ Kihss, Peter. "Daily News Struck by the Guild; Talks at Other Papers Snarled; Daily News Struck by the Guild; Talks at Other Papers Snarled", The New York Times, November 1, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Kihss, Peter. "Daily News Uses Journal Plant; Talks Continue in Guild Strike; Executives Put Out Paper; Press Conference Called Action by Mayor", The New York Times, November 2, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  3. ^ Kihss, Peter. "News Strike Ends with a Raise of $8; Pact Ratified After 9 Craft Unions Urge Rejection – Publication Resumes Severance Pay Granted; Other Settlements Due; Both Sides Thanked Joint Union Meeting; 'Right' Is Questioned; Further Meeting Set", The New York Times, November 9, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Kihss, Peter. "City Papers Offer Printers $8 Raise; Cut in Plant Costs Asked Union Trims a Demand", The New York Times, December 4, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Kihss, Peter. "Paper Deliverers Reject Offer Of $8 Raise in 3-Year Contract; Union Asks $16 Spread Over 2 Years Negotiations Pressed With Other Craft Groups as Deadline for 7 Nears", The New York Times, December 5, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Kihss, Peter. "U.S. Intervenes in Paper Dispute; Mediator Calls Printers and Publishers to Talk Today", The New York Times, December 6, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  7. ^ Staff. "TALKS TO RESUME IN PAPERS' STRIKE; Publishers and Printers Will Meet With Mediator Today --Wirtz Asked to Act Others Halt Publication; Talks to Resume in Papers' Strike", The New York Times, December 10, 1962. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Staff. "Newspaper Strike Changed Many Habits but Left No Lasting Marks on Economy; WALKOUT BEGAN YEAR AGO TODAY Publishers and Unions Have Made Little Progress on Bargaining Methods More Local News on TV Strike Called Mistake Common Expiration Permanence Missed Cue and TV Guide Up Times Shows Loss No Sales Tax Drop", The New York Times, December 8, 1963. Accessed January 17, 2009.
  9. ^ Hinckley, David. "WRKS SHOWS WHY NO RACE HAD 'SOUL' POSSESSION" Archived 2009-05-16 at the Wayback Machine, Daily News (New York), November 29, 1997. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Leonard E. B. Andrews, Buyer of Wyeth Art, Dies at 83", The New York Times, January 12, 2009. Accessed January 17, 2009.
  11. ^ "Herald Tribune Publishes Explanatory Sheet: Street Sales Boom as New York Post Appears After Shutdown". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1963-03-05. p. B7.
  12. ^ "N.Y. Printers Reject Plan For Return". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1963-03-18. p. 1.
  13. ^ "N.Y. Printers Vote To Settle Strike". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1963-03-25. p. 1.
  14. ^ "Engravers Balk At N.Y. Terms; Strike Still On". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1963-03-28. p. 1.
  15. ^ a b "Strike Ends, N.Y. Papers Rolling Again". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1963-04-01. p. 1.