A strike could have seriously hindered or even stopped production of the weekly publication. On Wednesday, the union credited the agreement as “the direct result of collective action — including a credible strike threat — proving that when we stand together and fight, we win.”
The union, part of the NewsGuild of New York, formed three years ago and includes fact-checkers, Web producers and copy editors but not staff writers — most of whom are contractors with the magazine, despite having brand-name reputations of their own. Union leaders had argued that the status quo for these more invisible yet vital workers was unacceptable. Base pay at the magazine, located in one of the most expensive cities in the country, starts at $42,000, and some workers who have been there for two decades still make less than $60,000.
Condé Nast, the New Yorker and the union have agreed to raise the salary minimum to $60,000 by 2023, increase wages by 10 percent for many union members and guarantee annual raises. The parties also agreed on issues related to overtime work, health-care costs and severance. Unions for two other Condé titles, Pitchfork and Ars Technica, also reached agreements in contracts.
“Throughout two and half years of negotiations, our union remained steadfast in our commitment to improve the quality of life for ourselves and for future employees,” Natalie Meade, chair of the New Yorker Union, said in a statement. “Thanks to our members’ hard work, the era of at-will employment and wage stagnation at The New Yorker is finally over.”
Condé said in a statement that the new agreement reflects standards that its executives had already been working to raise throughout its workforce. “We look forward to the ratification of the contract and continuing to support our editorial teams as they deliver world-class journalism for our audiences,” the statement said.
The union had taken its demands to the public square, asking readers to not visit the magazine’s website if a strike were called. Its efforts have drawn high-profile backers such as Fiona Apple, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Last week, about 100 union members and their supporters protested outside the Greenwich Village townhouse of the Condé Nast’s second-highest-ranking and most well-known executive, Anna Wintour.