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Condé Nast Narrowly Avoids a Met Gala Strike

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Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Around 3 a.m. Monday morning, Condé Nast and its 540-member union announced that they’d finally reached an agreement narrowly avoiding a strike that would have played out during the Met Gala. The union, whose members include Vogue employees, had pledged to do “whatever it takes” to secure a fair contract.

The union has been locked in bargaining with company management for over a year and has accused the company of mishandling layoffs and refusing to meet them at the bargaining table. In January, it held a 24-hour work stoppage, during which Anne Hathaway walked out of a Vanity Fair photoshoot in solidarity. As bargaining dragged on, The Hollywood Reporter discovered that the company had moved nearly 100 workers whose layoffs were being negotiated as part of the contract to a bizarre centralized team, ramping up tensions with employees.

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief and also Condé Nast’s global chief content officer, has been a major subject of the union’s ire and criticism. Wintour is also, of course, in charge of all things Met Gala, and the union explicitly targeted her star-studded party at the end of April, threatening to go on strike ahead of the event over what they called “insulting contract proposals.” Last week, members staged a rally outside Condé Nast’s One World Trade Center office and distributed fliers near Wintour’s West Village brownstone that said, “Anna Wears Prada, Workers Get Nada.”

Two days before the gala, union leaders addressed Condé Nast management in a video posted on X, writing, “Meet us at the table or we’ll meet you at the Met.” It’s not clear what they had planned beyond a walk-off Monday afternoon, but outlets surmised members would have picketed outside the museum, forcing Wintour’s esteemed guests to cross the picket line on their way into the party. (Nothing puts a damper on fashion’s biggest night like scabbing.) The strike would have left Condé Nast outlets without writers to cover one of the biggest fashion events of the year and may also have caused something of a labor shortage at the event itself — Vogue staffers have been known to work at the gala.

It seems the prospect of a Met Gala strike was enough to force the company’s hand. In an email sent to staff early Monday morning and shared with the press, Condé Nast wrote that its higher-ups were “pleased to come to tentatively agreed terms on a contract with the union,” adding that the agreement “reflects and supports our core values.” The union announced on X that their contract established just cause for firing employees, improved parental leave, secured $3.6 million worth of wage increases, and got rid of the company’s practice of hiring full-time workers as freelancers without benefits. Later this week, the unit will officially vote on whether to ratify. One of the chairs, Mark Alan Burger, told the New York Times, “Obviously, The Devil Wears Prada is a huge cultural touchstone for us. The idea that 100 girls would kill for this job — those days are over.” In the meantime, though, Anna can hob-nob with Jeff Bezos in peace.

Related

  • Anne Hathaway Supports the Condé Nast Walkout



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Danielle Cohen , 2024-05-06 21:07:01

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