As COVID-19 infections have lessened in the past year and safety mandates have lifted, numerous companies around the United States, especially high-profile ones, have begun mandating a return to in-person work for their employees. These companies believe that in-office work is a vital component of their business proceedings, with many officially enacting return-to-office, or “RTO,” mandates.
One of these companies is news publication The New York Times, but the publication’s employees aren’t interested in complying with the mandate. According to a Bloomberg report, over 1,2000 journalists and tech workers represented by the NewsGuild of New York refused to RTO, opting instead to continue working remotely. For these employees, remote work has helped their productivity, as well as allowing them to better connect with and protect their families.
“Health and safety policies are a part of contract negotiations and they have to be bargained over,” Times software engineer Carrie Price told Bloomberg. “Being in charge of our own personal risk assessment is important to our membership… Being asked to give up that ability to be in control of my own personal safety for myself and my loved ones, is something that we don’t want and it hasn’t been negotiated over.”
Some union members of the New York Times and NBC News’s digital properties vowed to defy their employers’ back-to-the-office plans https://t.co/mff0ETJysv via @WSJ
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 13, 2022
The RTO mandate is the latest sticking point for NYT employees, whom have not seen any recent increase in wages and benefits in spite of the fact that the publication has been doing well in recent years. The protesting workers are holding out for an updated contract to better serve them in the face of a rising cost of living.