Staff at two more Condé Nast publications announced Friday that they formed unions, joining a wave of major media companies whose employees who decided to organize labor.
Editorial employees at the music site Pitchfork and technology and science publication Ars Technica informed managers Friday morning that they were organizing under the NewsGuild of New York.
“The editors, writers, producers, and strategists of Pitchfork are deeply proud of the work we do here,” Pitchfork senior editor Stacey Anderson said in a statement provided to The Daily Beast. “We believe that forming a union will keep this a sustainable place for all of us. We’re ready for management to address our concerns and work as hard for us as we do for them.”
“Science and tech journalism is vital for society today and the future needs that,” Ars Technica features editor Nathan Mattise said in a statement. “Through our union, we're excited to work with management to ensure we're building an environment to do this kind of work for the long haul."
According to a NewsGuild organizer, both publications are seeking “to address issues including job security, layoff procedures, fair annual cost of living raises, structures to improve diversity and inclusion, and a protected collective voice.”
The past several years have not been kind to editorial employees at digital media organizations. One by one, companies that just a few years earlier had boasted about taking on the cable and print news giants fired large numbers of staff. In the past year, Vice, BuzzFeed News, Mic, and the Huffington Post have laid off hundreds between them.
Condé Nast has also laid off a number of staffers across its publications, inspiring employees at many to consider forming editorial unions. Editorial employees at the New Yorker announced they were unionizing last year. Though the publication has voluntarily recognized the staffers’ right to form a union, the magazine and its staffers continue to negotiate a contract with the NewsGuild, which represents employees at the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and BuzzFeed News (as well as some editorial employees at The Daily Beast).
Several Ars Technica staffers told The Daily Beast that the publication began considering unionizing after layoffs at the site in late 2017. Staff at Pitchfork had been discussing a union for months, but expedited their organizing efforts after the publication laid off employees on the company’s art team last month.
“Even if job cuts are coming, people want some level of insurance so that we have a seat at the table to talk severance or how and who may have to experience those cuts,” Mattise said in a brief phone call.
"Pitchfork is made possible by our small staff of music-lovers, who write, edit, and publish stories every single day,” staff writer Noah Yoo said. “We want to make sure full-time staffers who contribute invaluable work to the website, especially younger ones, are protected from business practices that deny them benefits and other necessities."