Workers at Oxford University Press are threatening to go on strike as negotiations over a new contract drag on. The union, News Guild TNG/CWA 31222, was elected to represent employees in September 2021 and covers approximately 150 people in the New York metropolitan area. The union opened negotiations with OUP in February 2022 and has been asking for better working conditions and higher wages.

Now, the union alleges that OUP has violated labor law by refusing to negotiate and has been filling U.S. vacancies by moving those jobs to India and the U.K. The Guild filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the NLRB has informed the union it will proceed and take the issue to court, bringing OUP to face an administrative law judge in Manhattan, and potentially forcing OUP to restore the status quo, which in turn could return any jobs moved overseas back to the U.S.

Another matter in contention is starting salaries, which are now approximately $40,000. OUP has offered the union a starting salary $46,826, which the union said is not a livable wage for workers in New York City. The union now alleges that OUP is making annual pay reviews for employees commensurate on accepting this latest offer. In response, the Guild plans to file another complaint with the NLRB.

Luis Espinosa, the representative for the News Guild, told PW, that the union and OUP had reached agreements on several matters. “On salary, for example, we are not that far apart. Our latest counter was $50,000 for the lowest tier of salaries, but they have not come with a serious response in some time,” Espinosa said. On the matter of the job relocations, “OUP has said that they are a global company and can, in essence, do what they want. But that is not how the law in the U.S. works, which offers us protections” Espinosa said.

Espinosa said plans for a strike are underway and the job action could take a number of forms. “Typically, the strikes, which are protected under law, are not long term—they could be a one, two, three days—and they could involve some of all of the employees. That is still be decided by the workers.”

PW has reached out OUP for comment and will update this story accordingly.