As Condé Nast gears up to implement company-wide cuts amid the coronavirus, another of its publications has decided to unionize.
Staffers at Wired have announced their intention to form a union with the NewsGuild of New York, joining The New Yorker, Ars Technica and Pitchfork, the other Condé brands that are already unionized.
More than 85 percent of eligible employees at the tech magazine and web site signed union authorization cards and have asked Condé to voluntary recognize the union, according to the NewsGuild.
“We seek to unionize so that our entire staff has a seat at the table as Condé Nast decides how to adapt to the media industry’s dramatic transformations,” said Andy Greenberg, senior writer at Wired. “The current economic crisis has only made that need more urgent. If we can collectively protect any member of our staff from the effects of budget cuts, we have a responsibility to demand a say in how those cuts are decided.”
The move comes just over a week after the publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ and Glamour announced plans to cut salaries of those making more than $100,000 by between 10 and 20 percent for five months in a bid to counter the plunge in advertising revenues plaguing the industry due to COVID-19.
The media company will also implement reduced working hours and work week schedules such as three- to four-day work weeks for certain roles, while chief executive officer Roger Lynch admitted that he expects there will be some layoffs, but did not give any details of where and when these may occur.
The Wired Union stressed that the organizing drive has been underway for more than a year, but because of the pandemic it has taken on a “renewed importance as journalists across the industry seek a collective voice in how media companies respond to the economic crisis.” In forming their union, they hope to address issues including job security, codified layoff procedures, fair annual cost of living raises and structures to improve diversity and inclusion.
“I’m so proud to welcome the staffers of Wired into our union,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “As we continue to build a productive relationship with Condé management, we look forward to recognition without delay so we can get to work bargaining a contract that will protect Wired for years to come.”
This comes as hundreds of staffers at Hearst Magazines are still waiting for a union election date. Since management did not voluntarily recognize it, the decision now lies with the National Relations Labor Board, the federal body that deals with labor disputes.
A Condé rep did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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