Condé Union: ‘The Met Gala’s sparkle comes from our sweat’

NEW YORK – Ahead of the 2022 Met Gala tonight, the Condé Nast Union released the following statement on behalf of the union’s Organizing Committee. In late March, workers first announced the formation of the union, which includes full-and part-time editorial, video, and production workers at Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, GQ, Self, Teen Vogue, them., Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Condé Nast Entertainment.

“Tonight, celebrities and models from the world over will descend on New York for this year’s Met Gala. The rich and famous will pose, cameras will click, and the Internet will light up with a thousand ‘who wore it best’ takes. 

Condé Union published a Vogue special issue cover with the Met Gala’s theme, “Guilded Glamor.”

“But behind the cameras, there are hundreds of Vogue workers who are underpaid, undervalued, and overworked. We are assistants, producers, and freelancers who work tirelessly in the months before the Met Gala, managing a million details so that, when the first Monday in May comes, the night looks effortless. 

“The Met Gala’s sparkle comes from our sweat. Without us, the Met Gala simply could not happen. But Condé takes our labor for granted, forcing us to accept low pay, long hours, and unpaid overtime all for the benefit of ‘prestige.’

“Prestige doesn’t pay the bills. Prestige doesn’t pay the rent. Last year, Condé brought in revenues of more than $2 billion. Subscriptions are up double-digits. And yet many of our colleagues earn salaries that barely allow us to even make rent. 

“We deserve adequate pay and benefits now that let us survive in New York, recognition for our work, and a real say in the future of Condé. We deserve recognition of our union.”

In conjunction with their statement, the Condé Union published a Vogue special issue cover in the theme of “Guilded Glamor” citing headlines like “High Profile, Low Pay: Why Staffers Would Kill for Overtime” and “Forces of Fashion: Freelancers, Producers, Assistants!” 

The cover highlights the around the clock work that goes into the all-night news coverage for the Met Gala, the weeks of burnout leading to it, as well as the invisible workforce behind the event, and the lack of overtime pay for working one of the year’s largest events. 

“It’s the universal Condé experience on an even larger, more intense scale, proving that there would be no Condé Nast—or Met Gala—without us,” wrote the Condé Nast Union on Twitter. 

The Condé Nast Union, first announced in March, represents editorial, video, and production workers at Vogue and other Condé Nast brands. Management has yet to voluntarily recognize the union. Workers have slammed Condé Nast for low pay, lack of diversity and equity, heavy reliance on “permalancing” workers, and absence of clear standards for performance evaluation and career development.