NYGuild Members at Fortune Magazine to Strike CEO Conference on Moral Leadership and Shared Prosperity to Demand Fair Contract
Unionized Workers Are Preparing to Strike and Picket the September Conference, Hosted by Fortune Magazine, in Response to Multiple Unfair Labor Charges Filed Against the Company About Its Failure to Bargain in Good Faith
New York—As Fortune magazine prepares for its CEO Initiative conference in mid-September, the editorial employees of the Fortune Union are announcing that they will walk off the job for two days and picket the event in protest over management’s bad-faith negotiations with the NewsGuild of New York.
Faced with a change in ownership and significant newsroom layoffs over the last several years, members of the Fortune Union have been fighting for a fair contract with standard benefits like severance during layoffs. Digital workers at Fortune won their union on May 21, 2019, but the members still do not have a contract, which led to the union filing multiple unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against Fortune management this year, including ULP charges recently filed protesting the company’s refusal to bargain over a safe return to office.
"At a time when the journalism profession is under tremendous economic pressure, it’s difficult for journalists to do their best work while under the perpetual threat of cost cuts and layoffs that threaten their livelihoods,” said Rey Mashayekhi, finance reporter. “Benefits like severance during layoffs provide the economic security and peace of mind that far too many in the industry lack, and ensure that journalism professionals get a fairer piece of the revenues their work generates for billionaire publishers."
“Our pay equity study showed that there are concerning gaps in pay along racial and gender lines in our newsroom,” said McKenna Moore, assistant audience engagement editor. “A contract that formalizes pay structures and job categories, sets fair minimums and gives workers decent wage increases, which is what the union is fighting for, will go a long way toward correcting those pay gaps. That’s why we need a contract now.”
“Fortune prides itself on showcasing diversity publicly, but privately management doesn't want to commit through our contract to that same ideal in its newsroom,” said Bianca Silva, digital producer. “It's time for the newsroom to properly reflect the rapidly changing world of business.”
“The Fortune CEO Initiative is a conference dedicated to helping employers incorporate and promote social progress as part of their core business values,” said Susan DeCarava, President of the NewsGuild of New York. “Guild members at Fortune are fighting for those same company values to be applied to newsroom working conditions. Is management ready to walk the talk it sells to conference attendees and magazine/website subscribers? It is long past time for management at Fortune magazine to stop stalling, do the right thing, and agree to a fair standards contract our members will ratify.”
The union offered to bargain with the company daily in the lead-up to the conference. Fortune management refused.
Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list grades other companies on how trustworthy, caring, and fair they are in times of crisis. Despite that, contract negotiations at Fortune have dragged on for nearly two years, including a year and a half during the pandemic.
In March, the NYGuild filed a series of unfair labor practice charges over the company’s refusal to bargain in good faith. In June the company announced an irresponsible plan to force Fortune workers back into the office without first bargaining with the union. The union subsequently filed several more unfair labor practice charges, and the union will be striking because of the company’s continued unfair labor practices and in support of their campaign for a fair contract.
A study by the union found significant wage gaps affecting women and people of color in the newsroom. Women make 84% of what men in the unit do on average, and workers of color make 78% of what their white colleagues do.
To protest going nearly two years without a contract, the editorial employees of Fortune will walk out during the CEO Initiative conference and demand management come to the table in good faith to negotiate a fair contract with its workers. #OurFutureOurFortune
BACKGROUND: For decades, Fortune magazine has been represented by the NewsGuild of New York. After Meredith Corp. sold the magazine in December 2018 to Fortune Media Group Holdings Limited, owned by Chatchaval Jiaravanon, the digital staffers of Fortune requested voluntary recognition to join their fellow union-represented print colleagues as members of the NewsGuild of New York. During the sale, though Jiaravanon stated that he would honor the union contract, management denied voluntary recognition to the digital workers. The Fortune Union won their union on May 21, 2019, with a 20–3 vote via an NLRB election.
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, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
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