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Condé Nast

Condé Nast's West Coast regional office is in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

'Prestige Doesn't Pay the Bills': Condé Nast Workers Announce New Union

"Condé Nast has a legacy as a storied media brand, but it now also has a legacy as one of the last media giants to unionize."

Brett Wilkins

Employees across Condé Nast publications on Tuesday announced they are following in the footsteps of their colleagues at The New Yorker and other company outlets and forming a union to "create a better, more equitable workplace."

"If Condé wants to attract the best talent in the business, they have to stop relying on prestige and provide equitable pay and benefits."

The Washington Post reports the newly formed Condé Union sent a letter signed by more than 350 workers to company management requesting voluntary recognition of the labor group, which includes employees of nearly a dozen publications including Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Glamour, GQ, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.

"We work for one of the largest and most influential media companies in the country, but Condé Nast also has a long, well-documented history of exploitation, leveraging its prestige to overwork and underpay its employees," Condé Union said in a statement.

Vanity Fair web producer Jaime Archer told the Post that "it comes down to prestige doesn't pay the bills."

"We love working here, and we want to keep working here," she added. "If Condé wants to attract the best talent in the business, they have to stop relying on prestige and provide equitable pay and benefits."

The unionization of Condé Nast began in 2018 with members of The New Yorker's editorial staff, who were followed by workers at Ars Technica, Pitchfork, and Wired. Company management voluntarily recognized all four efforts—but not without a fight.

Bon Appétit senior food editor Christina Chaey said in a statement Tuesday that "Condé Nast has a legacy as a storied media brand, but it now also has a legacy as one of the last media giants to unionize. We deserve to work at a brand that values our work and prioritizes helping us shape our futures here. Show us you actually want us to be here, Condé!”

Allegra Kirkland, Teen Vogue's politics director, said that "great people leave Condé all the time because they're frustrated by systemic issues at the company, or by a lack of career growth or raises. That harms both our quality of work and the quality of life of those left behind, who end up picking up the slack."

"The union will enshrine protections," she added. "It will give people an outlet to voice their concerns and a reason to stay."

Bon Appétit assistant editor Chala Tyson Tshitundu asserted that "our union will fight to improve Condé's frankly abysmal pay scale, which has not only led to stagnant wages across the board, but glaring ongoing pay inequities, especially amongst non-white staff."

Some workers called on Condé Nast to reflect the values its publications promote.

"We publish pieces every day about how women can advocate for themselves, and how mothers need to be treated well, and pay discrepancies in the workplace," Glamour staff writer Jenny Singer told the Post. "There's nothing more important than Condé practicing what it preaches in its pages."

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