Hundreds of New York Times Company employees have been working from home this week in defiance of the company’s renewed push to return to the office.
More than 1,200 people, the majority of journalists and tech workers represented by the New York Press Association, pledged not to return to the office Monday in an attempt to get The Times to negotiate an RTO plan, according to the union.
“Health and safety policies are part of contract negotiations, and there has to be a bargain,” Times software engineer Carrie Price said in an interview Monday. “Being responsible for our own personal risk assessments is important to our members… being asked to relinquish the ability to control our own personal safety for ourselves and my loved ones is something we don’t want and haven’t negotiated.”
The reporters have not been under contract since March 2021, and despite decades of inflation and rent increases, staff have not received a raise for more than two years. At the same time, they said, the company has performed exceptionally well in recent years, with executives earning millions of dollars a year.
This week’s protests come after months of deadlocked contract negotiations, staff said. In June, when Joseph Kahn became the paper’s executive editor, union organizers wrote a letter with nearly 900 signatures calling for a new contract. Two weeks ago, after making no progress, more than 300 employees, many of whom were paid far less than some of the New York Times’ star reporters, wrote personal emails to senior leaders, describing how they were struggling to keep up with the surge. cost of living.
On Monday, The New York Times offered branded lunch boxes to welcome employees back to the office.
This is the lunch box. It’s so cute! But my colleagues and I don’t need cute trinkets. Last month, 330 of us wrote emails asking for an actual raise to fight inflation. We have RTO and DEI proposals. What we need is a contract. Let’s haggle, @New York Times. pic.twitter.com/0M3ZtawiDl
— andrea ready for a fair contract for all (@zagatam) September 12, 2022
Senior editor Andrea Zagata said in an interview: “I think it’s really good people who decided to make lunch boxes, but I don’t think these little incentives are enough for us. “Frankly, we’d rather have a raise or a contract.”
“We submitted a wage proposal to NewsGuild that would provide a 10% contract increase over the remaining two-and-a-half years of the new contract,” company spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said. “This is significantly higher than the recent Times Guild contract. many.”
This isn’t the first time the company has tried to bring employees back to their desks. The deadline for the final return to the office was set in June, although employees protested the move on Twitter, which was later pushed back.
Public clashes with unionized workers are nothing new to The New York Times. In August 2021, hundreds of tech workers staged a strike to protest unfair labor practices and alleged union-busting, and later won an election to become one of the largest tech unions in the United States. Wirecutter reporters held a Black Friday strike last November before reaching a contractual deal the following month.
The high-profile tensions at The New York Times echo those at other offices across the country. Apple, like other companies, chose Labor Day as its new line of defense to get employees back to their desks. The tech giant has delayed its RTO date several times in the face of employee anger over the policy. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are easing some Covid policies to lure more employees back to the office.
(Apart from the title, this story was unedited by NDTV staff and was posted from a syndicated feed.)