Low and stagnant wages have been a fixture at The New Yorker for decades. Some union members make as little as $42,000 a year, and many of the longest-serving employees—who have worked there for more than twenty years—make less than $60,000. Faced with the financial realities of living in New York City, members often struggle to make ends meet and are forced to make personal sacrifices to produce The New Yorker’s award-winning journalism. The company has yet to correct many of these disparities and has resisted annual wage increases that would keep pace with the cost of living. Fair pay is a diversity issue, too—no workplace that claims a commitment to inclusion should be paying its employees so little that only the privileged can afford to work there.
REASONABLE HEALTH-CARE COSTS
After analyzing several years of historical data, our union found that, as health-care costs have increased, The New Yorker’s parent company, Condé Nast, has shifted that burden in large part onto employees. We’re proposing a framework to set reasonable limits that would prevent the company from disproportionately increasing employee premiums.
The New Yorker is a weekly publication with a powerful daily Web presence. Employees are often expected to work extra hours, but most receive no overtime pay, and there is no standardized system of comp time. Meanwhile, the company wants employees to seek approval to take on many freelance assignments, and wants the power to reject those requests, even if the work is distinct from what employees are paid to do at The New Yorker. This policy would directly impact employees’ ability to supplement their income through freelance work. The company must acknowledge that workers are entitled to time off the clock—and that there should be limits on how much any job can encroach on employees’ lives and creative freedom.
In an industry where layoffs are unfortunately common, it’s important to make sure that any reductions in force are handled with fairness and transparency. We’ve proposed a substantive notice period for layoffs, which would allow our union to advocate for job-saving alternatives. Additionally, union members laid off out of reverse seniority order should receive enhanced severance, to reward longer-serving employees’ loyalty and to prevent the company from using layoffs as an end run around just-cause protections.
Management has relied on a negotiation strategy of delay, intransigence, and unresponsiveness. For months, they’ve avoided answering information requests and responding to proposals, and now they’re refusing to meet with our bargaining committee at all. The company is legally obligated to bargain with us in good faith, and that means trading proposals with us on the record and in full view of our members. We’re ready to meet the company at the table anytime.