The New York Times ask their workers to return to the office three days a week after Labor Day. But many declined, with more than a thousand people signing pledges to continue working remotely — at least for the first week they had to be at their desks.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal tried its own crackdown and required workers to return starting November 1 for at least three days a week, up from the previous regulation of two days per week. Meanwhile, editors and senior managers are expected to return to the office full-time.
In an email to staff, Matt Murray, Magazine The editor-in-chief writes, “there is no doubt that we work at our best, create our best products, and grow, share and learn the most, when we are together.”
He added that remote work makes things more difficult.
But the union represents The Wall Street Journal staff are not convinced. Tim Martell, executive director of the Association of Employees of Independent Publishers, told Luck that he doesn’t believe being in the office is as important to the success of the publication as Magazine management said.
“We are not convinced by the claims of Dow Jones manages or The Wall Street Journal management, that there should be a newsroom in the office, three days or five days a week, to The Wall Street Journal to be successful,” he said. “This company has been very, very successful over the past two years.”
As part of a recently negotiated contract between Dow Jones and the union, any departmental changes, such as office work requirements, must be given 45 days notice. That allows union members time to voice any concerns with union leaders.
And they did it.
On Friday afternoon, Martell said 30 to 40 employees had contacted the union about the latest back-to-office order. Of those, he said, 80% say they oppose any additional requests for office work, though he would like to hear from more people to get a more representative sample.
Among the common employee concerns, Martell said, are working parents who will be forced to arrange childcare, health and safety as COVID remains a threat and trust. that people are more productive at home without the noise of the newsroom.
“Personally, I am not affected by this,” he said. “But I very much understand and feel the concerns being expressed by our members and to be honest, that is more important to me.”
The The Wall Street Journal did not reply Fortune’s Request comments.
For The New York Times, Some employees, in addition to being frustrated at having to return to the office more often, also demanded a raise in wages to combat inflation.
The union represents Wall Street Journal’s staff had a one-year contract in place. So, The Wall Street Journal According to Martell, employees cannot refuse to return to the office.
“But I’ll say this, it’s only a one-year contract,” said Martell.
According to Martell, the union reached an agreement quickly with Dow Jones because the company did not want any distractions from contract negotiations. So the latest change to in-service policy could spill over into future negotiations.
“If they are signaling to us that the future of work will be like the work of the past,” he said, “I bet the negotiations will be tough for a new contract next year.”
During contract negotiations, Martell said the company has repeatedly told the union it has been successful over the years, despite employees working remotely.
“If going back to work just for the sake of getting back to work is the plan here, it will be hard to swallow,” he said.
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