After years of stalled contract talks, workers at The New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica vote to authorize a strike

After three years of unproductive contract talks, NewsGuild members at The New Yorker, Pitchfork, and Ars Technica announced Friday that they have voted — with 98 percent support — to approve a strike if negotiations with management of their publications and their parent company, Condé Nast, break down further.

The vote, with more than 93% of Guild-represented workers participating, comes after slow and contentious negotiations for first contracts at each outlet.

The NewsGuild of New York will hold an in-person, socially-distanced, mask-required rally for “fair contracts at Condé” Saturday morning. In January, employees of The New Yorker held a 24-hour work stoppage to press their demands.

Contract talks have centered on demands meant to correct long-standing workplace inequities: 

  1. Fair pay that reflects the value of the work Guild members produce and that keeps pace with the increasing cost of living
  2. A safe and inclusive work environment
  3. Ending practices that exploit workers and undermine their work-life balance 

“At each bargaining table, Condé Nast has maintained a bad-faith bargaining strategy of delay, intransigence, and unresponsiveness,” the NewsGuild of New York said in a statement.

“Management has arrived at bargaining sessions unprepared, and has stalled for months in responding to our proposals and requests for information. They have made commitments to new policies in public, only to turn around and refuse to make those same commitments in our contracts. And they have repeatedly presented language that would let management retain unilateral control over our members’ workplace conditions.

“This week’s strike authorization votes make clear that the workers who produce The New Yorker, Ars Technica, and Pitchfork understand Conde’s actions as evasive strategies designed to undermine their efforts to make real, meaningful change.

“We call on Condé to do better: Come to the table ready to bargain in good faith with a commitment to finish these contracts collaboratively — and quickly.”

In a joint statement, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica Unions said some of management’s proposals would make conditions worse than they are now. “Currently, they are proposing annual wage increases so small that salaries would not even keep up with the rate of inflation.”

“If and when our bargaining committees call for it, we will walk off the job to demand the contracts we deserve,” they said.

“This strike-authorization vote is meant to remind Condé Nast of the value of our labor, and to demonstrate our members’ solidarity in fighting for a fair contract. We take pride in what we do, and many of us have often accepted subpar wages and conditions in order to be a part of publications we care deeply about. But this reality is not just or sustainable.

“It is time for Condé Nast to show that it understands how seriously we take this fight, and to begin working with—rather than against—us to reach agreement on fair contracts that will build a stronger, more sustainable future for this company and the people who make it run.”

Follow the developments on Twitter @nyguild | @newyorkerunion | @p4kunion | @ars_union.