The afternoon work stoppage comes in response to ongoing threats of discipline by management over The Times’ unlawful return-to-office edict.
NEW YORK – The Times Tech Guild – the largest union of tech workers with collective bargaining rights in the country – will walk out this afternoon in protest of the New York Times’ flagrant disregard for their rights as union members. Times management has continually attempted to coerce members to comply with its unlawful return-to-office policy.
The nearly 700-member union – which includes software engineers, data analysts, project managers, product managers, and designers at the New York Times – will begin their walkout at 1 p.m. They will exit the building at 40th Street (between Seventh and Eighth avenues) and hold a rally, followed by an afternoon of picketing around The Times building. Some members will be in Halloween costumes, to not only mark the upcoming holiday but to demonstrate that they aren’t “scared” of Times management’s anti-union tactics.
Workers who are remote will sign off at 1 p.m. and participate in a digital rally and picket via Zoom.
The Tech Guild, which won its union election by a landslide in March 2022, is negotiating its first contract. The NewsGuild of New York, the labor union that represents the Tech Guild, filed an unfair labor practice charge in September 2022 about Times’ management’s edict to return to the office. In August, Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board found merit to the charge and supported the Guild’s position – that return-to-office is a mandatory subject of bargaining.
Despite that, Times’ management continues to pressure Tech Guild workers to come into the office, including threats that failing to work in-person will impact performance evaluations that determine raises and bonuses. It’s one reason why the Tech Guild is fighting so hard for “just cause” in their contract as a fair standard that management must adhere to when disciplining or firing an employee.
“The Times is now not only refusing to recognize our rights to bargain on return to office but is now going a step further and using it as a tactic to intimidate us,” said Kathy Zhang, unit chair for the Tech Guild. “This afternoon’s work stoppage is to send The Times’ senior leadership a strong, unmistakable message: We will not stand by and allow you to trample on our rights.”
Times management has fought the Tech Guild every step of the way since they first announced their intention to be a union in 2021. It’s a pattern of behavior by the company that’s one of the reasons why the Tech Guild is bringing attention to their contract fight to the public with their walkout.
“Today’s rally is about RESPECT for the workers who help make the New York Times the media powerhouse that it is,” said Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of NY. “We are fighting for a fair contract that protects our Tech Guild members from arbitrary and unlawful work rules. We much prefer to work with a partner across the table in good faith, but that can’t happen until Times management stops violating our members’ rights and labor law.”