Hearst Faces Claims Of Toxic Culture Amid Union Vote

  • by July 23, 2020
Hearst Magazines is the latest publisher to face public scrutiny of its workplace culture, with current and former employees airing their grievances about the company in a New York Times reporton Wednesday. The story could support the case for employees to join a union, though the status of the vote isn't clear.

The Times report says four former Hearst employees had complained to the company's human-resources department or senior executives about the behavior of Troy Young, who became president of media company's magazine group in 2018. The unnamed sources, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, described several incidents of lewd comments or harassing behavior.

The newspaper's story also scrutinizes Jessica Pels, the editor of Cosmopolitan, who has faced employee demands to address racial discrimination in the recent weeks of protests against racism and police brutality.



The magazine started a program called "Cosmo Can Do Better" that seeks to hire more Black people and people of color. It also published statistics about the racial composition of its staff and upper management.

Unmentioned in the Times' report is the status of an employee vote to join the Writers Guild of America, East. The movement has spurred friction with Hearst management since last November, when a majority of magazine employees signed union cards.

The WGA East had been scheduled to release the results of a mail-in ballot on union membership on July 20, but the current status of the vote is unclear.

The organization didn’t respond to Publishing Insider's phone and email queries about the vote. It's possible their collectivized efforts will add impetus to demands for management to address their complaints.

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