Staffers on the new daily show Vice Live briefly walked out of the Vice offices last week in protest, following a dispute over the company’s refusal to provide rides home for employees working late nights.
Several Vice staffers said that among the employees’ many concerns, the chief complaint has been the company’s refusal to provide comped rides home for staff after tapings that end fairly late in the evenings, particularly for employees who live in Harlem, the Bronx, and New Jersey—far from Vice’s HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
It is a standard practice among many television news channels in New York to provide transportation for early morning or late-night employees.
Vice has provided shuttles for some employees to drop off staffers in the general vicinity of their homes but, in some instances, the shuttles have been driven by production staff on the show. Sources also said the company does provide a small stipend for late-night transportation, but employees have been paying out of their own pockets.
Last Thursday, Vice Live staff staged a brief walkout during the show’s daily meeting, but returned before the day’s show. In a statement on Thursday, Vice’s employee union said said the company “refuses to provide safe rides home for employees on the new Vice Live show despite a petition signed by dozens of staff.”
The company said it was working on ensuring staff had safe rides home.
“From the start of VICE LIVE, all show staff have been given a transportation stipend in excess of the contractual rights in the recently ratified WGA agreement,” a Vice spokesperson said in an email. “In addition, shuttle vans have been made available to broaden the staff’s options. At VICE we value our staff and we remain dedicated to open communication with them.”
The walkout came only weeks after the company launched Vice Live, a nightly two-hour live show, airing from 9-11 p.m. on the company’s channel Viceland, that focuses primarily on pop culture but was billed as covering everything from “Kavanaugh to Cardi B.”
The Hollywood Reporter described the show as the “first major swing” by new CEO Nancy Dubuc, who last year replaced Shane Smith, the company’s outspoken founder and longtime CEO.
Over the past several months, Vice has been one of several new media companies roiled by major cuts and changes. The millennial-focused media company laid off 10 percent of staff and has reorganized several parts of its media operations, which include a television channel, a news show syndicated on HBO, and a host of digital media brands.