The staff of The New Yorker, the largest in the Condé Nast empire, is opting to unionize with the News Guild of New York.
If the effort succeeds — and 90 percent of the 115 union-eligible employees have signed union cards — the David Remnick-led weekly will become the first in the Newhouse family business to organize.
The union card vote comes amid a constant drip, drip, drip of editorial downsizings at the parent company over recent months that have seen editorial cuts at high-profile publications like Vanity Fair, Glamour and Vogue.
Organizers at The New Yorker said they sent a letter to Editor-in-Chief Remnick asking the company to voluntarily recognize the union.
“Our decision to unionize comes at a moment when much of what we value about @newyorker — its atmosphere of deliberation and care and its devotion to exceptional reporting, factual accuracy, careful prose and expert design — is vulnerable to competing priorities from @condenast,” tweeted @newyorkerunion on Wednesday.
Remnick could not be reached for comment and the company had not returned a call by presstime.
The unionization drive would not include most of the publications prestigious contributing writers. They would be considered contract workers, not full time staffers.
The organizers claimed there is pay disparity among employees doing similar jobs — plus lower wages overall compared to rivals, with no clear way in which raises are tied to job performance.
The publication is part of the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications, which, in addition to the glitzy magazine empire also owns newspapers including the Star Ledger in Newark, NJ, the Jersey Journal, the Staten Island Advance, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The company kept unions out of the newsroom for years by promising overly generous pension and low-interest loan programs and long-term — if not lifetime — employment.
But those programs have been cut back and staffs radically downsized as the newspaper and magazine industries have come under economic pressure over the past decade.
Conde Nast lost over $100 million in 2017. Other wings of the family’s media empire have been lucrative.
The family’s holding company owns a big chunk of Discovery Communications stock and in 2016 sold its Brighthouse cable holdings for $12 billion.
Newhouse also owns the social media site, Reddit, which some speculate is headed toward an IPO at some point in the next 18 months.
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