Strike Averted: The New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica Unions Reach Agreement in Principle with Condé Nast
Agreement Follows Nearly Three Years of Negotiations and Escalating Member Activism
New York—Members of the New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Ars Technica Unions are proud to announce that a strike has been averted and that they have reached an agreement in principle on their first contracts with Condé Nast.
The agreements include wage increases of up to 63 percent at The New Yorker, up to 58 percent at Pitchfork and up to 35 percent at Ars Technica. All three units will have a salary floor of $60,000 by the final year of the agreement. The agreements also include strict limitations on future health-care cost increases, defined working hours for salaried employees (a 40-hour workweek and an eight-hour day), a ban on nondisclosure agreements related to discrimination and harassment, and successorship provisions to help ensure that our members’ hard-won collective bargaining agreements will remain in effect if a publication is sold.
On diversity and inclusion, the agreements include a new joint labor-management diversity committee for each unit, data-reporting requirements to help track diversity outcomes over time and a company-wide commitment that 50 percent of candidates interviewed for open roles will be from underrepresented groups.
Additional protections include hard-fought just cause provisions, guaranteed severance and health benefits in the event of layoffs and strong jurisdiction language that limits the company’s ability to rely on temporary employees, or so-called permalancers, to do unit work.
“Throughout two and half years of negotiations, our union remained steadfast in our commitment to improve the quality of life for ourselves and for future employees. Thanks to our members’ hard work, the era of at-will employment and wage stagnation at The New Yorker is finally over. To reach agreements in principle on the very first collective bargaining agreements at Condé Nast is a historic occasion, and we’re proud to have blazed the trail, setting a standard for compensation and establishing a framework of accountability that will benefit New Yorker and Condé Nast employees for years to come.” - Natalie Meade, Unit Chair of the New Yorker Union
“With this deal, Pitchfork staffers will finally receive the compensation, job security and respect they deserve. It marks a new era for music journalism, one that will continue to flourish moving forward.” - Ryan Dombal, Unit Chair of Pitchfork Union
“We’re extremely proud to have achieved a contract that gives Ars staffers the security and compensation they need to continue producing top-notch technology journalism well into the future.” - Kyle Orland, Unit Chair of Ars Technica Union
“Congratulations to the members of the New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica Unions on accomplishing a groundbreaking agreement that sets new standards for fair compensation, equity and job security in our industry,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “Our entire Guild is immensely proud of all that our members have achieved due to their unflinching solidarity and resolve in addressing long-standing inequities at Condé Nast.”
The New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica Unions have issued the following joint statement:
After more than two and a half years of negotiations between The NewsGuild of New York and Condé Nast, the New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Ars Technica Unions are proud to announce that we have averted a strike and reached an agreement in principle on our first contracts. These landmark agreements, which will go before members for a ratification vote in the coming weeks, will inaugurate a new era of equity, transparency, and accountability at The New Yorker, Pitchfork, Ars Technica, and Condé Nast at large.
Here are some of the wins our unions have secured:
- Wage increases of more than 10% for the majority of bargaining-unit members across the three units, and of up to 63% for some members, along with thousands of dollars of additional wage increases for longer-serving employees (with pay adjustments retroactive to April 1st).
- Organized compensation structures for each unit, including wage minimums for each title, that provide clear pathways for advancement.
- A salary floor of $55,000 upon ratification, which will increase to $60,000 by 2023.
- Guaranteed annual raises of 2% to 2.5%, increasing over the life of each contract. These raises are also protected by an inflation trigger and could increase depending on inflation metrics.
- Predictability in health-care costs, with strict limitations on increases annually and over the life of each contract, along with a guarantee to maintain existing benefits.
- Protection of work-life balance, with clear parameters around the workday and workweek, and a standardized system for providing comp time or overtime pay to employees who work beyond their regular schedules.
- Editorial integrity guidelines giving employees the right to withhold bylines from any story that is inaccurate or violates journalistic ethics, and to decline paid-advertising assignments.
- Clear, consistent systems for freelancing that allow employees to take on outside work if it does not conflict with their jobs.
- Improvements to time off policies, including the ability to roll over unused vacation time annually, along with additional paid time off for bereavement-related travel and immigration proceedings.
- A new joint labor-management diversity committee for each bargaining unit that will review data reported by the company and work to attract and support a diverse staff.
- A company-wide commitment that at least 50% of candidates interviewed for open roles will be from underrepresented groups.
- A ban on nondisclosure agreements that would prevent employees who believe they suffered workplace discrimination or harassment from speaking about their experiences, along with a contractual right for employees to have Guild representation in investigatory meetings when they raise complaints about harassment.
- Job security in the form of a just cause clause, successorship language, enhanced severance for employees laid off out of seniority order, and strong coverage and jurisdiction provisions that prevent the company from weakening our bargaining units.
These gains are the direct result of collective action—including a credible strike threat—proving that when we stand together and fight, we win. With these agreements, we have laid a foundation that will raise standards at Condé Nast and throughout our industry. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the staff and Guild members in New York and across the country; our allies across the labor movement, from the Freelance Solidarity Project to the Teamsters; local, state, and federal politicians who have championed our cause; and, especially, our colleagues, contributors, and readers. We couldn’t have done it without you. We’re excited for the work ahead.
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 4,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021
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