WIRED Joins Organized Ranks of Condé Nast
For Immediate Release: April 22, 2020
Contact: Josh Austin, email@example.com | (484) 269-0158
New York––Staffers at tech magazine and website WIRED announced today that they have formed a union with the NewsGuild of New York, joining The New Yorker, Ars Technica, and Pitchfork in the ranks of unionized publications at Condé Nast.
More than 85% of eligible WIRED staff signed union authorization cards and have requested voluntary recognition of their union. Workers at WIRED seek to address issues including job security, codified layoff procedures, fair annual cost of living raises, structures to improve diversity and inclusion, and a voice in discussions with parent company Condé Nast.
The WIRED Union also seeks to eliminate the two-tiered employment system that leaves many of their colleagues who are paid by a third party staffing agency, Global Employment Solutions, without benefits. The New Yorker Union successfully fought to bring GES subcontractors on to Condé Nast staff with raises and benefits.
The organizing drive, which had been underway for over a year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has taken on renewed importance as journalists across the industry seek a collective voice in how media companies respond to the economic crisis. The staffers hope to work together with WIRED management to fight for the future of the publication within Condé Nast.
“For over 25 years, WIRED has published award-winning journalism about the future of the world,” said Louise Matsakis, Staff Writer. “We believe that forming a union will help ensure our vital coverage is part of that future."
“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,” says 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.”
“Our entire team works tirelessly to make WIRED the respected voice that it is, from meticulously fact-checking and copy-editing the magazine to making sure stories are beautifully and thoughtfully designed, photographed, and illustrated,” says Research Editor Caitlin Harrington. “We want to ensure that every one of us is fairly compensated for the work we do, so we can focus on upholding these high standards.”
“We stand with our courageous colleagues who have united to take charge of their own future by forming a union, and we call on Condé Nast to immediately recognize the WIRED Union and begin the process of developing their first collective bargaining agreement,” said the leadership of The New Yorker Union, Ars Union, and Pitchfork Union in a joint statement.
“To see media professionals continue to bravely stand up for and with their colleagues during this crisis is an inspiring and powerful reminder that—no matter the circumstance—workers deserve a voice in the workplace,” says Susan DeCarava, President of the NewsGuild of New York. “I’m so proud to welcome the staffers of WIRED into our union. As we continue to build a productive relationship with Conde 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.”
The WIRED Union’s mission statement is below:
From its founding 27 years ago, WIRED has consistently used its platform to spur society-wide discussions about the ways technology is impacting humankind. These changes are so pivotal, as our cofounder Louis Rossetto wrote in our origin manifesto, that “their only parallel is probably the discovery of fire.” As we have chronicled these shifts, they have transformed media as a whole, including WIRED itself and the larger company of which it is a part. Now we believe it’s time for WIRED to have a protected, united voice for the staff who create this publication.
To that end, we have resolved to unionize. Like our Condé Nast colleagues at The New Yorker, Ars Technica, and Pitchfork, we have chosen to join the NewsGuild—an organization that also represents vibrant publications like the Associated Press, Reuters, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and one that understands our core commitment to journalism.
WIRED staff members have been preparing to take this step for months, but given the historic times in which we are all now living, and the acute economic crisis playing out in the United States and around the world, it is more important than ever that we come together. At the same time, WIRED’s journalism is especially vital now, and we have been producing industry-leading coverage of the pandemic. We deserve a protected voice within our workplace during this period of unprecedented instability, and our goal is to work together with management to safeguard our publication and staff as these societal changes unfold.
Our reasons for organizing long predate the current crisis, however. Salaries vary widely, even among staffers who do similar work. Full-time contractors work alongside staff members, doing the same jobs without the same benefits. Company-wide consolidation of editorial departments threatens to erode WIRED’s unique voice. And staffers in San Francisco feel perpetual uncertainty about the future of their office, despite the need for a strong presence in Silicon Valley. These challenges also contribute to a lack of diversity in our staff, which must change both for the health of the WIRED community and the integrity of the journalism we produce.
Perhaps most fundamentally, we often are made to feel that our jobs depend on the precarious approval of Condé Nast corporate leaders with whom we have no communication. It’s difficult to maintain WIRED’s distinct values as two levels of management grapple with competing priorities and fiscal pressures. Forming a union will give WIRED workers a direct seat at the table in discussions with both WIRED leadership and Condé Nast.
WIRED has always focused on the future, the better to prepare readers for its promise and upheaval. Now it’s time to secure our own place in that future, with our voices rooted in a workplace of transparency, diversity, and fairness. As journalists, we must hold ourselves to the same standards we hold the tech companies we cover. By unionizing, we earnestly seek to secure the future of WIRED and strengthen its claim as the publication best qualified to report on technology and our changing world.
We urge Condé Nast and WIRED management to recognize our union and look forward to beginning the collective bargaining process to find a fair path forward together.
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, and The Daily Beast.
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