‘Cute’ Lunchboxes Fail to Woo The New York Times Employees as 1, 310 Workers Ditch Return to Office Plans

The employees of news organization The New York Times have declined calls to resume work from the office for three days a week. The news organization ordered its employees to resume working from the office starting this week but more than 1,300 journalists have put their foot down and said they will not return to office.

The move from the employees comes amid an ongoing dispute between the News Guild journalists – union of which many reporters, photographers, editors and business-side employees are part of – and the upper management over wage hikes.

On Monday, 1,316 workers of the New York Times signed a pledge to not return to office. Among these 1,316, there are 879 members of the News Guild who are also members of the Times Tech Guild and the union for Wirecutter, the NYT’s product-recommendation wing.

One employee told the New York Post that people are livid.

The attempt by the NYT human resources team to woo back employees using fancy lunch boxes has also failed.

“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,” the NYT journalist Haley Willis said in a tweet.

People familiar with the developments told the New York Post that the lunchboxes were empty and did not even have handles.

A spokesperson from the news organization told the New York Post that there is not a set number of days mandated for working in the office and individual teams are being asked to determine what works best for their teams.
“We continue to believe that a hybrid work environment best suits the New York Times at this moment,’ the spokesperson said.

The News Guild and the New York Times upper management are currently engaged in discussions regarding an 8% raise in wages, a cost-of-living increase of 5.25% and a permanent option for remote working. They are also demanding that there be no mandatory return-to-office until July 2023.

“A lot of managers are not too happy about having to return to the office either,” another NYT worker told the New York Post.

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