Several hundred Vox Media employees staged a walkout and stopped writing and publishing stories in an effort to pressure the company to sign their union contract.
On Thursday, Vox Media Union shared photos of an empty New York newsroom after hundreds of employees walked out on the last scheduled day of bargaining for the union. It said it was still pushing the company ― which owns Vox.com, Eater, Polygon, The Verge, Recode and SB Nation, among others ― to agree to terms on raises, severance pay, limits on subcontracting and wage scales.
Later, in a company email obtained by Bloomberg, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said he was “serious” about reaching an agreement but was disappointed about the walkout and his employees’ desire for higher wages.
In it, he wrote, “While paying people a lot more than market wages sounds great on the surface, it’s not realistic or smart.”
Dozens of employees and other media union members have been tweeting directly at Bankoff over the last few days, sharing stories of low wages and benefits issues. Vox.com criminal justice reporter German Lopez, for example, said he made $30,000 a year when he started in Washington, D.C., and doesn’t “want anyone at Vox Media to go through that again.”
Added Lopez: “It’s time the company agree to a fair contract with Vox Union.”
Reporter and editor Mike Prada of SB Nation said the sports site won’t publish stories on the NBA Finals game Thursday unless they get a contract.
It “was a hard decision, but securing that contract today is more important than an NBA finals game,” he tweeted.
The company recognized Vox’s union in early 2018, but 14 months later has failed to come to a collective bargaining agreement. Vox’s union is represented by Writer’s Guild of America, East, which also represents HuffPost’s union.
Yet to be explained were some articles being published with employees’ bylines but without their permission or presence in the newsroom on Thursday.