1,300 New York Times employees refuse to return to office
More than a thousand New York Times staffers are refusing to return to the office and are threatening a strike if the company does not meet demands from an employee union.
On Monday, the Times Guild said it had delivered a letter to the news organization’s corporate leadership with the names of nearly 1,300 NewsGuild member employees who have signed a pledge to continue to work remotely this week, the first week the company wants its journalists back in the office.
“We will continue to produce high-quality, award-winning work, while reminding the company it cannot unilaterally change our working conditions,” the Times Guild said.
Any return to office policy “as a matter of workplace health and safety, should be a part of our negotiated contracts,” the union argued, noting it believes any return to office procedures should fall in the same negotiating camp as “provisions for fair wages, equitable treatment for members” and other matters as it relates to the Times’s workplace.
“When I started at the Times in 2014, my salary was $128,000,” reporter Emily Steel wrote in one of the letters obtained and reviewed by the Beast. “Since then, I’ve negotiated for two merit-based raises. Yet, adjusted for inflation, my salary now is worth about the same as it was when I started in 2014. And since contract negotiations began in 2020, my salary is worth more than $17,000 less.”
A Times spokesperson on Tuesday, told The Hill that the newspaper had “listened carefully to our colleagues in order to design a gradual and flexible return to office approach that provides all employees with the time and space needed to adjust.”
“We continue to believe that allowing people the flexibility to work together in the office at times and remotely at other times will benefit everyone by ensuring that we maintain the strong, collaborative environment that has come to define our culture and drive our success,” the spokesperson said. “We’re proud to offer among the highest compensation packages for our industry and we’re also proud to have a large and growing newsroom.”
The Times has beefed its subscriber base significantly in recent years, growing its brand with a multimillion-dollar acquisition of sports media website The Athletic and continuing a major push into podcasting and newsletters since the beginning of the pandemic.
In April, the newspaper hired Joe Kahn as its new executive editor.