New York Times tech workers to strike over return-to-office rules

(Reuters) -Tech workers at the New York Times plan to strike for half a day on Monday, accusing the publisher of attempting to unilaterally force them back to the office.

The stoppage of work will start at 1 p.m. ET and the nearly 700 workers will hold demonstrations on Zoom and outside the company’s headquarters in Manhattan, where some will wear Halloween costumes, said the Times Tech Guild (TTG).

The New York Times issued its return-to-office policy before the tech guild was recognized early last year, when workers voted 404-88 to join the NewsGuild of New York, making TTG the largest tech union in the U.S. with bargaining rights.

Tech workers at the union have been in contract talks with the company for more than a year.

“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 guild that includes software engineers and data analysts.

A spokesperson for the media company said “we believe allowing people the flexibility to work together in the office at times and remotely at other times benefits everyone.”

The spokesperson also said the U.S. National Labor Relations Board had not ruled against its approach, after a Bloomberg News report said the agency’s prosecutors had concluded that the company violated federal law by unilaterally implementing a return-to-office plan and failing to negotiate with the union over it.

Without a settlement, a regional director of the agency will issue a complaint against the Times, the report said, citing a statement from the board’s spokesperson.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Devika Syamnath)