Pitchfork and Ars Technica, two Condé Nast-owned media brands that focus on music and tech and science, respectively, are moving to unionize.
Employees informed managers March 29 they were organizing under the NewsGuild of New York, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the news.
NewsGuild represents employees at The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York and the Los Angeles Times, as well as BuzzFeed, Mashable and The New Republic.
A NewsGuild organizer told The Daily Beast the Condé Nast-owned publishers want to form a union to discuss “job security, layoff procedures, fair annual cost of living raises, structures to improve diversity and inclusion, and a protected collective voice” with management.
In March, Pitchfork’s entire art team in Chicago and a senior editor were laid off. Those layoffs “have further justified our need for better protections as an editorial unit,” according to an official statement from Pitchfork’s union.
“We lack job security and have historically been underpaid compared to the industry standard,” the statement reads. “For years, subcontracted employees have worked full-time hours without health insurance and other basic benefits. Without a direct correlation between performance and compensation, the path to career advancement is unclear. T
hese practices, in conjunction with a longstanding lack of diversity across the staff, poorly reflect our values. To address these concerns, we aim to make permanent a series of commitments from Condé Nast.”
As of this morning, Pitchfork’s union has not yet been voluntarily recognized by Condé Nast, according to a post from the union’s official Twitter account.
The layoffs in March “also made us realize that Pitchfork needs a clear, distinct plan of action to allow POC editors to thrive at the company, as well as opportunities for POC writers to advance. The #p4kunion is asking for actionable steps to increase diversity,” reads a Twitter post from the account.
Another adds: “We believe diversity and inclusion across race, sexual orientation, class, and disability will make the music criticism on Pitchfork more insightful and thorough.”
Ars Technica’s employees “want a seat at the table for conversations about diminishing editorial resources and how to navigate budget or staff cuts handed down from Condé Nast,” according to a statement from the newly formed union.
Ars Technica’s entire staff works remotely. They feel they need “specific protections” for the “unique” workforce, as well as “additional opportunities for professional career growth, and more focus on increasing the diversity of our staff voices,” according to a Twitter post from Ars Technica’s account.
The official statement adds: “We’d like to see staffers receive more opportunities for growth, both monetarily and professionally, without the need to leave to seek more money elsewhere in the face of rising living costs.”
Condé Nast has laid off a number of staffers across its publications recently, amid a tough environment for businesses built around print and digital advertising revenue, as have BuzzFeed and Vice.The New Yorker's union issued a statement voicing support for Pitchfork and Ars Technica’s unionizing efforts, and called on Condé Nast to recognize them to begin the bargaining process.