Condé Nast reaches agreement with staffers, avoiding strike at Met Gala

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Publishing company Condé Nast reached a last-minute agreement with staffers on Monday morning, averting a strike ahead of Monday night’s Met Gala in New York, according to union leaders.

“We are excited to announce that we have a tentative agreement with @condenast on our first contract,” the Condé union said in a statement on X. “Our pledge to do ‘whatever it takes’ ahead of the #metgala2024 moved the company and our progress at the bargaining table kicked into high gear.”

The union said it secured a $61,500 starting salary floor and total of $3.3 million in wage increases. The tentative agreement also includes expanded bereavement leave and two more weeks of family leave, bringing the total to 14.

The union represents more than 500 editorial, video, and production workers across all Condé Nast’s brands that haven’t already unionized, including publications it owns like Vogue, Bon Appétit, Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and GQ. The union was created in 2022 and has alleged the company provided low pay and shows a lack of diversity and equity.

It comes months after the media conglomerate announced late last year it will cut hundreds of jobs in the wake of recent digital advertising pressures and a decline in social media traffic across the industry.

For those laid off, the union said Monday’s contract includes eight weeks severance, three months of COBRA coverage, or continuation of health coverage. Or in lieu of COBRA, laid off employees will receive a onetime lump sum payment, or additional $1,000 payment.

Two days prior to the deal, the union demanded Condé Nast management meet the union “at the table,” or “we’ll meet you at the Met,” in reference to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit.

The media company is one of the top news outlets to cover the annual event, with a Condé Union bargaining committee member calling it “fashion’s big night” and likened it to the Super Bowl” in an interview with The Washington Post.

“Once the work stoppage entered the conversation, all of a sudden the company was like, ‘Okay, well we can give you a little more,’” bargaining committee member Alma Avalle told The Post.

The union has increased pressure on Condé Nast in recent months. In January, it staged a one-day walkout to coincide with the release of the Academy Award nominations, the Post reported, and in April, union members marched in front of the home of Condé global chief content officer Anna Wintour to post fliers reading, “Anna wears Prada, workers get nada.”  

In a statement shared with The Hill, Stan Duncan, Condé Nast’s chief people officer, said the company is “pleased” at the tentative agreement.

“We are happy to have a contract that reflects and supports our core values – our content and journalism; our commitment to diversity and professional development; our industry-leading hiring practices; and our competitive wages and benefits,” he said. “We look forward to the ratification of the contract by its members.”

This story was updated at 10:53 p.m.

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