The New Yorker Union's Statement on its 24-Hour Work Stoppage
Today, the New Yorker Union is undertaking a twenty-four-hour work stoppage. Between 6 A.M. on Thursday, January 21st, and 6 A.M. on Friday, January 22nd, union members will not participate in the production or the promotion of material for the print magazine or the Web site. We are withholding our labor to demand fair wages and a transparent, equitable salary structure, and to protest management’s unacceptable response to our wage proposal and their ongoing failure to bargain in good faith. These negotiations have gone on long enough. If management continues to reject basic concepts like competitive salary minimums and guaranteed annual increases, and refuses to swiftly bargain toward a contract that reflects the value of our members’ work, we will take further action.
In November, 2020—after two years of negotiating over many other important contract provisions—the New Yorker Union presented New Yorker and Condé Nast management with a wage proposal that was aspirational but not unrealistic, designed to remedy decades of underpayment and disparities across roles and departments. The proposal included a salary floor of $65,000, which would allow entry-level employees to support themselves in New York City, and a system of graduated annual increases, which would help compensation keep pace with the cost of living and prevent wage stagnation.
We presented this proposal fully ready to negotiate; we did not expect management to automatically agree to it. But the response they offered, on January 12th, was egregious: it included a salary floor of $45,000—only $3,000 more than the lowest current full-time salaries—and an entirely discretionary “merit”-based increase system that would not guarantee any annual salary adjustments. Management also proposed retaining the right to decrease any union member’s salary by up to twenty per cent at any time.
The company’s proposal showed disrespect for us and for the work we do. Today’s work stoppage is meant to remind The New Yorker and Condé Nast of the value of our labor, and to demonstrate our members’ solidarity in fighting for a fair contract—which includes fair pay. New Yorker and Condé Nast management have often expressed gratitude and admiration for our dedication to our work. We urge them to meet us at the table next week ready to bargain in good faith over wages and other outstanding items, and to make efficient progress toward the contract our members deserve.
We are committed to The New Yorker, which is why many of us have worked here years—even decades—despite low and stagnant wages. However much we may love our jobs, that love is not enough to live on.
Our goal is to make the stakes of these negotiations as real for the company as they are for our members, and for this short-term disruption to create long-term improvements. Change may be uncomfortable for some, but we know our contract can establish a foundation that will allow The New Yorker, and all of us who make it, to thrive.
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