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Condé Nast Union Members Launch 24-Hour Walkout Amid Layoff Talks

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Union members who work at Condé Nast brands including Vanity FairVogue and GQ will be walking off the job on Tuesday to protest negotiations conduct that they claim violates labor law.

More than 400 Condé Nast Union members at those three publications as well as Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, Self, Teen Vogue and Condé Nast Entertainment are set to strike for 24 hours on Tuesday and hold a rally in front of the company’s offices in New York. The action stems from labor negotiations that have turned sour since Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch announced the company’s intentions to cut 5 percent of its workforce on Nov. 1.

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The one-day walkout “is really about the company engaging in regressive bargaining and breaking the law in bargaining by rescinding an offer that they had previously made around layoffs,” the union’s Condé Nast Entertainment unit vice chair Ben Dewey, a videographer, told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s so much solidarity that everybody is really looking out for their coworkers and willing to go on strike for this unfair way that the company is engaging in bargaining.” According to Dewey, Tuesday’s action is the first Condé Nast-wide strike in the company’s history.

THR has reached out to Condé Nast for comment. I’m a Virgo director Boots Riley tweeted out the news on Monday.

The walkout is timed to coincide with the announcement of nominations for the 96th Academy Awards, which is an important news day for select Condé Nast brands, such as Vanity Fair. To amplify the specificity of the choice, the union is planning on staging an Oscars-themed picket line starting at 10 a.m. ET in front of Condé Nast’s One World Trade Center offices that will feature a red carpet and a “step-and-repeat” area for photography, while a rally starting at 1 p.m. ET will include an “awards ceremony,” per the union.

“We just really want to show how much Condé relies on union members to cover big events like the Oscar nominations,” explained Dewey.

The NewsGuild of New York, the umbrella labor group of which the Condé Nast Union is one part, has filed two unfair labor practices charges against Condé Nast with the National Labor Relations Board since the Nov. 1 layoffs announcement. In December the union claimed that the company surveilled and intimidated members while they were trying to gain clarity about layoffs “in at least three instances.” At the time, Condé Nast said in a statement that its security team “followed standard building security protocol and did not engage with any union member.”

And this month the organization alleged that the company had engaged in “regressive bargaining” by downsizing a severance offer. According to the union, Condé Nast originally proposed cutting 94 union jobs, or 20 percent of the union, and providing laid-off workers a severance package it was offering other staffers in the company. After a union counter-offer, the company allegedly proposed still cutting 94 union jobs and cutting its previous severance offer in half.

The move was made “to remind management of their worth and urge company reps to bargain in good faith. We demand nothing less,” said NewsGuild of New York president Susan DeCarava in a statement.

Aside from their ongoing negotiations over layoffs, the Condé Nast Union and management also remain locked in negotiations over a first contract. Management voluntarily recognized the union after a card check in September 2022, and the two parties have been bargaining over the agreement ever since.

Tuesday’s work stoppage follows a similar action on Jan. 19 at the Los Angeles Times, whose newsroom is represented by the West Coast sister union to the NewsGuild of New York, the Media Guild of the West. The Times union, whose current labor contract expired months ago, initiated a 24-hour strike in response to a dispute with the paper’s management over what the labor group says is a “significant” number of layoffs that are coming.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

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