Wildcat Strikes: Union Workers Staging One-Day Walkouts

Tuesday saw another example of something that seems to be happening more frequently in publishing these days: a work stoppage. 

Roughly 400 Condé Nast union employees walked off the job on Tuesday to protest planned layoffs, reportedly the first one-day walkout in the company’s history. Condé Nast announced in November that it sought to reduce its headcount by 5%, or roughly 270 positions.

To produce maximum discomfort, the labor action was timed to take place as this year’s Academy Award nominations were being announced. 

In an unrelated episode last week, roughly 300 Los Angeles Times workers conducted what is said to be the first work slowdown in the newspaper’s history to protest an estimated 110 layoffs at the Times.  

This is hardly an isolated phenomenon. Last December, The New York Times was hit with a one-day strike by roughly 1,100 employees, editors and reporters as the Times and the New York Times Guild failed to agree on salaries, health and retirement benefits, return-to-work policies and other issues, the paper reports.  



Last June, Gannett was hit with a one-day nationwide strike.  

The fiscal impact of these actions is unclear — they are hardly tantamount to last year’s SAG-AFTRA strike. At the least, they produce negative publicity and can be doing little to boost company morale as publishers are accused of acting or negotiating in bad faith.

Newsroom staffers at several companies have been awaiting job losses, without apparent control, as publishers face declining ad and circulation revenue.    

They may have a new form of control. 


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