The New York Times is experiencing a mass exodus of employees as 1,300 workers pledge to not return to the office.
The New York Post reported, As of Monday, 1,316 Times workers had signed a pledge not to return to the office. This includes 879 members of the News Guild, but also members of the Times Tech Guild and the union for Wirecutter, the paper’s product-recommendation spinoff.
The exodus comes amid a contract dispute between the Times and the News Guild journalist Union. The Times has even begun attempting to provide incentives to its employees if they return to work.
The perks are surprisingly mundane given the situation. One perk is a New York Times branded lunch box for those who come back to work. Tom Coffey, a 25-year veteran of the Times says that people are “livid”. Lunchboxes likely won’t be enough to sway them.
One journalist 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.”
Coffey argued that workers returning to the office during a time of such high inflation will strain employees due to the cost of living and transportation costs.
The veteran claims that he received a ‘swag bag’ full of use items branded with the NYT logo. He was given items like an umbrella and water bottle when he reached his 25th year of employment. Coffey argued that the ‘swag’ did not aid him in taking care of his family.
A committee negotiating for the employees on strike is suggesting a 4% increase in pay in order to ensure that workers are not strained by their schedules. There has not been a company-wide pay hike since 2020.
According to a spokesperson for the outlet, there are not a required number of work days for employees. Each department works on scheduling with its employees in order to ensure that they are doing what works best.
The guild on the other hand is demanding an 8% hike in pay for employees that it represents. They are also arguing for a 5.25% cost of living increase.