Production of the nation’s leading weekly journalism and commentary magazine could come to a halt if the union and New Yorker management fail to come to an agreement after two and a half years of contract negotiations.
Staff have warned of an impending strike if they cannot close the gap on outstanding issues like wages and health care. The union, which is part of The NewsGuild of New York, drew up plans for a picket line that would urge readers not to share stories and pressure the magazine’s editors not to produce any new jobs or even do not process changes on current jobs.
The union is made up of 120 employees, mostly in writing and production roles, but does not include editors and other high-level contributors. The magazine’s management told these contributors that they would not be forced to cross a picket line if the union declared one.
This suggests that management is confident they can strike a deal or, if they can’t, the editors could simply halt production of the magazine, which has a circulation of over a million, as they negotiate in the midst of ” a prolonged work stoppage.
Although the union has asked readers not to read or share links in the event of a strike, its greatest leverage may lie in the print product. The union calculated that a magazine known for its thoroughness could not come close to its own standards without its core staff to assemble the magazine every week.
Closing new shows would almost certainly require scabs to perform strike duties. The union includes all of the fact-checkers on the staff. The magazine also has its own in-house style, which would make it harder to replace editors during a strike.
Gili Ostfield, a member of the magazine’s production staff and union member, said readers wouldn’t like what landed in their mailboxes.
“If they were to publish a magazine without us, it would absolutely be a substandard product,” Ostfield said. “I don’t think that’s something the New Yorker would be proud of. I think it would be a real stain on The New Yorker’s reputation to publish a magazine during a strike.
“Quite frankly, that would be a stain on David Remnick’s reputation,” she added, referring to the magazine’s longtime editor.
Remnick declined to comment on the dispute and whether The New Yorker plans to produce a print magazine during a strike.
HuffPost reached out to about 20 editors and contributors to ask if they would recognize a picket line. Most did not respond.
I think it would be a real stain on The New Yorker’s reputation to publish a magazine during a strike.
Gili Ostfield, New Yorker staff member
Hua Hsu, an editor, told HuffPost he would honor the union’s demands if the magazine continued to operate during a strike.
“As a writer I rely on editors, auditors etc so it’s not a very hard decision to support them,” he said in an email.
Editor Jane Mayer said the magazine’s editors assured them they would not be pressured to cross.
“As a former trade unionist for a newspaper that went on strike, I know how difficult these things can be, so I really hope both sides can avoid a strike and come to a fair deal at the table. negotiation, “Mayer wrote in a statement. E-mail.
Staff unionized in June 2018 following a series of similar recruiting efforts in other publications. The unions generally hope to secure a first contract within a year or a year and a half, but negotiations within Condé Nast, the magazine’s parent company, have lasted 30 months.
The union says the company is resisting annual salary increases that would follow the cost of living in New York City. The two sides also failed to come to an agreement on layoff protections, limits on after-hours work and the right to self-employment. The union accused the company of negotiating in bad faith, a charge Remnick and a spokesperson refused to address.
Ostfield said she believes the company’s bargaining position stems in part from the magazine’s self-esteem.
“Their attitude towards bargaining has been that the New Yorker is so exceptional that he shouldn’t be subjected to the kinds of demands a union will fight for, like basic dignity and a fair wage in the workplace.” , she said.
Throughout their protracted negotiations, the union tried to exercise the magazine’s substantial cultural weight, already with some success.
Last year, when the magazine refused to give staff strong protections against arbitrary dismissals, the union called for a boycott of the magazine’s 2020 annual festival, prompting headliners Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass .) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN. Y.) to withdraw from the event. The company acceded to the union’s demands.
On Tuesday evening, union members staged a protest outside the West Village home of Condé Nast content manager Anna Wintour, widely known far beyond the New York media world, particularly as the inspiration for the character. Frosty by Meryl Streep magazine editor Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.”
The group chanted: “The bosses wear Prada! Workers get nada! ”
One of Wintour’s neighbors was seen cheering and handing out drinks to union members.
Once again, the union is trying to capitalize on the magazine’s notoriety by inviting readers and subscribers to show their support through a stylish website design with graphic design in magazine style. And, in a major demonstration of solidarity, the union published testimonies from nearly 100 staff explaining why they are ready to go on strike.
“We are the life of this magazine,” wrote Carol Anderson, a columnist. “We deserve to have more than scraps thrown from the opulent hand.”
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