Posts tagged return-to-office
Op-ed: Will COVID-era work-from-home flexibility disappear?
September 19, 2023 // Telford points out the irony that even Zoom – the company that made remote work possible for millions, has recently instructed its own employees who live within 50 miles of a Zoom office to start coming in at least twice a week. Mark Zuckerberg has informed Meta employees that they could face termination if they do not come in at least three days a week starting this month. The sources quoted in the Post story seem to all be pointing toward the long schlep back to the office as being inevitable. Venture capitalist Matt Cohen said “During the pandemic, a lot of salespeople were taking calls from the top of mountains on hiking trips. That’s not working anymore.” Of course, all of this exists only within the world of the office worker. The remote work debate is largely a moot point for anyone who works in a warehouse, a restaurant, or on a road crew. It’s rather difficult, after all, to give a client a work-from-home pedicure. In so far as we’re supposed to be most worried about the outcomes of those least well off, there are probably plenty of employment issues that should be far higher up on our priority list.
Federal agencies face off with unions over remote work
August 11, 2023 // AFGE’s statement about the agreement did not mention remote work at all but emphasized the creation of a joint labor union-management council to improve working conditions. Yet AFGE Council 220 President Jessica LaPointe mentioned to the media that the union will continue to look for ways to implement more remote work at SSA, such as making the SSA’s teleservice center fully remote and proposing a decade-long field study to add more remote work options to encourage employee retention. Overall, LaPointe suggested the union will push for remote work at SSA because “employees will go elsewhere where telework is offered,” she said.
Grindr Tells Unionizing Workers: Move Across The Country or Be Fired
August 11, 2023 // LGBTQ dating app Grindr has issued a new return-to-office policy requiring staff to relocate to other cities, just two weeks after its workers announced they were unionizing with the Communications Workers of America. The certification form, sent to workers on Monday night and obtained by Motherboard, states that the policy requires workers to either move within 50 miles of their newly designated office or lose their jobs.
NSF announces return-to-office changes before finishing negotiations, drawing union ire
July 18, 2023 // Starting in October, all telework-eligible NSF employees and Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) employees stationed at agency headquarters will have to work in the office at least four days per two-week pay period, NSF leaders said in an all-staff email, obtained by Federal News Network. The changes do not apply to employees eligible for remote work or those with an approved remote work agreement. “We want to strengthen the NSF culture by increasing our time in person, while meeting our business needs and maintaining workplace flexibility,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan and Chief Operating Officer Karen Marrongelle said in the email.
Google’s return-to-office crackdown gets backlash from some employees: ‘Check my work, not my badge’
June 15, 2023 // “Managers of non-remote Googlers who have been consistently absent from the office will be cc’ed on emails to these Googlers (subject to local requirements), so they can support Googlers in either ramping back to the office or exploring other flexibility options,” the document says. On Friday, YouTube held its own all-hands meeting with employees about the office policy update. At the event, executives presented the plans virtually, a paradox that didn’t go unnoticed.
Google contractors vote to unionize in historic landslide election
April 27, 2023 // The unionization vote passed 41-0. The National Labor Relations Board representative counting the ballots said 49 workers were eligible to vote. The employees work for the subcontractor Cognizant on content operations for Google’s YouTube Music, resolving bugs and completing other tasks to ensure the streaming service runs smoothly. Google continues to argue that Cognizant is the workers’ sole employer and says the Mountain View-based tech giant should not be forced to negotiate with the workers. Held via mail-in ballot, the election creates a bargaining unit with the Alphabet Workers Union — an organization affiliated with the Communications Workers of America that, until now, has represented only one office of unionized Google workers, a contracted Fiber retail shop in Missouri. Those workers opted to drop Google from their petition.
Labor board decision could force Google to negotiate with YouTube contractors
March 7, 2023 // Alphabet has been labeled a joint employer, which may have some big ramifications for workers if they decide to unionize. For its part, Alphabet intends to appeal the NLRB’s decision. “We simply don’t control these workers’ employment terms or working conditions,” spokesperson Courtenay Mencini told Bloomberg. In addition to the union drive and fight to get Alphabet recognized as a joint employer, the contractors went on strike in February to protest return to office orders — the first strike at the company, according to the AWU. The dates for the union election haven’t been publicly announced yet.
Op-ed: Why Employers Forcing a Return to Office is Leading to More Worker Power and Unionization
February 23, 2023 // It's important to recognize that this turn to worker power is happening in the context of massive layoffs by tech companies, which are becoming less willing to offer perks like remote work to their workforce. In fact, there's evidence that some companies such as Twitter are using return-to-office mandates to get workers to quit voluntarily, to avoid paying severance. Employers are increasingly getting the upper hand, as workers who feel anxious about the economy are reluctant to make demands for more remote work. However, such strategies may well backfire against employers in the long term if they spur increases in labor union organizing; even though individual employees might be anxious about their jobs, together they can press their case, especially given an unemployment rate of 3.4%, the lowest in over 50 years. And even tech workers are finding new jobs in three months or so, pointing to the strength of the labor market despite some shift toward employer power.
Exclusive: YouTube contractors to strike over forced return to office
February 6, 2023 // Cognizant says that the workers' contracts have always stated that the jobs were in-office jobs and that it communicated to workers since Dec. 2021 that it would provide 90 days notice when employees were expected back in the office. "Cognizant respects the right of our associates to disagree with our policies, and to protest them lawfully," the company said in a statement to Axios. "However, it is disappointing that some of our associates have chosen to strike over a return to office policy that has been communicated to them repeatedly since December 2021."