Condé Nast staff stage walkout in protest of company layoffs

New York, New York - Hundreds of unionized staffers at Condé Nast, the parent company behind legacy publications including Vogue and Vanity Fair, walked out Tuesday in protest of looming layoffs.

Hundreds of unionized employees of Condé Nast walked out on Tuesday in protest of looming layoffs.
Hundreds of unionized employees of Condé Nast walked out on Tuesday in protest of looming layoffs.  © ANGELA WEISS / AFP

As part of the NewsGuild action, 400 employees walked off the job on the news-heavy day, which saw the announcement of Academy Award nominations and voting in a presidential primary.

The union urged people not to cross the digital picket line by refraining from visiting Condé Nast sites, which also include GQ, Bon Appetit, Glamour, Architectural Digest, and Teen Vogue.

Some 100 workers were manning the picket line under cold, rainy skies outside Condé Nast headquarters at One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

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"Bosses wear Prada, workers get nada!" they chanted, according to one video of the protest.

The union action comes after the company's CEO Roger Lynch said last fall it would lay off 5% of the total staff – about 300 employees. Facing protest by the union, Condé Nast later said it would instead lay off 94 members of the guild, about 20% of total unionized staff. Negotiations are ongoing.

The NewsGuild's New York chapter has filed a complaint with the federal labor board against Condé Nast.

"The last nearly three months of fighting for our co-workers on the company's layoff list has led us to today," said Ben Dewey, an employee and representative of the Condé Nast Union.

Massive layoffs plague US media companies

The Condé Nast layoffs come amid a greater wave of job insecurity in US media.
The Condé Nast layoffs come amid a greater wave of job insecurity in US media.  © ANGELA WEISS / AFP

Readers, journalists, and the music industry at large received shock news last week that Pitchfork – a standard-bearer of music journalism in the digital age, which Condé Nast acquired in 2015 – would be folded into the monthly men's magazine GQ.

The controversial organizational shakeup meant significant layoffs at Pitchfork, whose employees are represented by the Pitchfork Union, also a unit of the NewsGuild.

"The reporters, editors, producers, researchers, and all the people who make award-winning music journalism for Pitchfork, deserve better than to be treated like disposable parts," said Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York.

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The Condé Nast layoffs are part of a greater wave of job insecurity in US media.

The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday also began layoffs, with Matt Pearce, a reporter at the flagship paper and Media Guild of the West president, saying management had informed him that 94 guild members would receive notices.

The total represented approximately a quarter of the LA Times guild membership, he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Sports Illustrated staff were laid off last week as publisher The Arena Group missed a licensing rights payment to its brand owner, which has thrown the future of the prestigious magazine into question.

In 2023, job cuts also impacted staffers at The Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), and Vox.

Digital media workers also continue to suffer, including at Vice, which filed for bankruptcy in May, and BuzzFeed News, which shut down and cut 180 employees.

Cover photo: ANGELA WEISS / AFP

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