Why the stars of the New Yorker did not join his union


Neither effort has gained ground.

Many writers, it seemed, valued their status as independent entrepreneurs. Some, led by Tad Friend and Jia Tolentino, used the threat of a union – and the suggestion that Condé Nast had illegally classified many of them as contractors, which the company disputes – to set up a process by which some writers might become health benefit employees. An agreement was finalized at the end of last month.

And that has left the most prominent writers mostly on the sidelines in recent weeks as a bitter labor dispute consumed their beloved magazine. The New Yorker is currently working on the final details of a contract, and people on both sides seemed optimistic that a deal could be reached this week. They have agreed to a starting salary of $ 55,000 and are discussing issues such as caps for potential increases in health care costs, people familiar with the talks said – even as the Guild threatens. to strike.

Many writers have tweeted in support. But no writer showed up at a protest outside Condé Nast’s headquarters on May 1, and none appeared to be present at a march outside the home of Condé Nast’s global content manager, Anna Wintour, on June 8.

The dispute has caught the industry’s attention not only because of the employees’ joy in holding the brand hostage in public, but also because it highlights the big issues facing contemporary media. What power can employers exercise over their employees? Are junior employees apprentices or a permanent creative subclass? And as the labor movement seeks to level the playing field, will the stars follow?

Everything is especially personal at The New Yorker, where the campaign pitted a culture of personal relationships and deep trust against a group of employees who reject the idea that they should be subjected to the whims of any boss, as benign as it is.

The easiest to understand element of the dispute is the salaries of production workers, the group that includes everyone from fact checkers to social media editors. Some salaries start as low as $ 42,000 a year and stay below $ 60,000 after 20 years of work.

But other tensions revolve around the feeling that junior jobs rarely offer promotions through the ranks of writers, and no clear career path.

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