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Conde Nast staff stage walkout against layoffs

Unionized employees at Conde Nast, which includes brands like Vogue and Vanity Fair, walked off the job in protest of looming layoffs
Unionized employees at Conde Nast, which includes brands like Vogue and Vanity Fair, walked off the job in protest of looming layoffs — © AFP ANGELA WEISS / File
Unionized employees at Conde Nast, which includes brands like Vogue and Vanity Fair, walked off the job in protest of looming layoffs — © AFP ANGELA WEISS / File

Hundreds of unionized staffers at Conde Nast, the parent company behind legacy publications including Vogue and Vanity Fair, walked out Tuesday in protest of looming layoffs.

As part of the NewsGuild action, 400 employees walked off the job on the news-heavy day, which saw the announcement of Academy Award nominations and voting in a presidential primary.

The union urged people not to cross the digital picket line by refraining from visiting Conde Nast sites, which also include GQ, Bon Appetit, Glamour, Architectural Digest and Teen Vogue.

Some 100 workers were manning the picket line under cold, rainy skies outside Conde Nast headquarters at One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

“Bosses wear Prada, workers get nada!” they chanted, according to one video of the protest.

The union action comes after the company’s CEO Roger Lynch said last fall it would lay off five percent of the total staff — about 300 employees.

Facing protest by the union, Conde Nast later said it would instead lay off 94 members of the guild, about 20 percent of total unionized staff. Negotiations are ongoing.

The NewsGuild’s New York chapter has filed a complaint with the federal labor board against Conde Nast.

“The last nearly three months of fighting for our co-workers on the company’s layoff list has led us to today,” said Ben Dewey, an employee and representative of the Conde Nast Union.

Representatives of Conde Nast did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

– Wave of layoffs –

Readers, journalists and the music industry at large received shock news last week that Pitchfork — a standard-bearer of music journalism in the digital age, which Conde Nast acquired in 2015 — would be folded into the monthly men’s magazine GQ.

The controversial organizational shakeup meant significant layoffs at Pitchfork, whose employees are represented by the Pitchfork Union, also a unit of the NewsGuild.

“The reporters, editors, producers, researchers and all the people who make award-winning music journalism for Pitchfork, deserve better than to be treated like disposable parts,” said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York.

The Conde Nast layoffs are part of a greater wave of job insecurity in US media.

The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday also began layoffs, with Matt Pearce, a reporter at the flagship paper and Media Guild of the West president, saying management had informed him that 94 guild members would receive notices.

The total represented approximately a quarter of LA Times guild membership, he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Sports Illustrated staff were laid off last week as publisher The Arena Group missed a licensing rights payment to its brand owner, which has thrown the future of the prestigious magazine into question.

In 2023, job cuts also impacted staffers at The Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR) and Vox.

Digital media workers also continue to suffer, including at Vice, which filed for bankruptcy in May, and at BuzzFeed News, which shut down and cut 180 employees.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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