There’s a revolt brewing among CNN and HBO employees over an urgent internal matter: Equinox membership fees.
Over the past several weeks, staffers have raised concerns about the end of a large discount on memberships at the luxury gym chain for employees at WarnerMedia, CNN and HBO’s parent company.
CNN employees currently pay $110 per month for an Equinox membership that allows them access to all clubs, according to a petition circulated among employees at the network. Per an internal email, however, that discount is set to end on June 30 when WarnerMedia employees switch to the Equinox discount provided to employees of AT&T, which recently acquired WarnerMedia.
Now, according to the CNN petition, network employees in New York will be forced to fork over $238 per month if they want access to the Hudson Yards Equinox branch, near the cable channel’s newly relocated New York City headquarters.
In response, more than 100 CNN and HBO employees have signed multiple petitions that have circulated around both companies calling for WarnerMedia to allow staffers to keep their original Equinox discount.
“Help us let the parties involved know that we can’t afford this $128/month hike,” reads one petition. “A $1500 annual employee benefit has been stripped away without a comparable replacement,” reads another.
Some CNN employees mocked the petition, of course.
“It’s the most white people first-world problems I’ve ever heard,” one source remarked.
AT&T isn’t leaving the employees without an affordable gym option, however.
According to multiple sources, there is a gym available for WarnerMedia employees at the new New York City Hudson Yards HQ, with a $50 fitness plan available. But the major drawback of the gym is that it is closed on weekends, and according to a petition circulated among HBO staff, fitness classes are not included with basic membership.
WarnerMedia’s current Equinox discount is also better than the one provided by many large New York-based media companies.
It is more generous than the discount provided to some NBCUniversal employees who spoke with The Daily Beast. Employees at both BuzzFeed and IAC, which owns The Daily Beast, are offered an Equinox membership rate of $250 per month for locations near their New York City offices.
Some WarnerMedia employees have resigned themselves to a reality without an indoor Olympic-sized pool and a sauna.
“I guess I’ll go back to getting swole at Planet Fitness,” one WarnerMedia employee joked.