(breitbart) – More than 1,300 employees of the New York Times are revolting against the company’s return to work policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, 1,316 employees of the Times signed a pledge not to return to the office after the company demanded they work in-house three days a week. Employees argue a return to work would therefore dramatically increase expenses between gas, food, and clothing.
On that basis they have demanded a significant wage increase.
The protest even spilled out onto social media this week when video journalist Haley Willis tweeted: “The @nytimes is giving employees branded lunch boxes this week as a return-to-office perk. We want respect and a fair contract instead — so I’m working from home this week along with 1,300 of my @NYTimesGuild and @NYTGuildTech colleagues, with support from @WirecutterUnion.”
A spokesperson for the Times told the New York Post the exact number of days required each week will be left up to departments depending on their needs while emphasizing that the company believes a “hybrid work environment best suits The New York Times at this moment.”
On the wage negotiation front, the process has been anything but smooth, with sources telling the Post “management was putting off wage negotiations until many other issues — such as adding Juneteenth, Veterans Day and Indigenous Peoples Day to the calendar — were settled.”
The News Guild labor union has demanded an eight percent raise while insisting that workers be given an option to work from home until at least July 2023 or indefinitely.
Some employees have also taken issue with the fact that publisher A.G. Sulzberger, new executive editor Joe Kahn, Opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury, and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien have seen their wealth increase substantially since the pandemic.
“We respect the rights of our colleagues in the Guild to make their voices heard,” a Times spokesperson told the Post.
“We’re actively working with the NYT NewsGuild to reach a collective bargaining agreement that financially rewards our journalists for their contributions to the success of The Times, is fiscally responsible as the company remains in a growth mode, and continues to take into account the industry landscape.”
“We presented the NewsGuild with a wage proposal that would offer contractual increases of 10 percent over the remaining two and a half years of the new contract. That is significantly higher than in recent Times Guild contracts. We look forward to making progress toward an agreement,” the statement added.