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The Vox Media Union responded to layoffs Friday at its parent company, which publishes Vox, The Verge and New York magazine, among others, saying the action was “unconscionable.”
The publisher, which is also behind Eater and SB Nation, laid off 7 percent of its workforce Friday. The layoffs impacted many teams, including editorial, revenue, operations and core services.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to eliminate roughly 7% of our staff roles across departments, due to the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry,” Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said in a company memo Friday.
“Unfortunately, in this economic climate, we’re not able to sustain projects and areas of the business that have not performed as anticipated, are less core to where we see the biggest opportunities in the coming years, or where we don’t have enough rationale to support ongoing investment in what could be a prolonged downturn. In spite of the dedication of the many talented people involved in these initiatives, we need to scale back,” he continued.
“We are experiencing and expect more of the same economic and financial pressures that others in the media and tech industries have encountered. These difficult circumstances prompted us to take other steps over the past few months to reduce our spending. We suspended most new hiring and significantly reduced discretionary spending. While we are not expecting further layoffs at this time, we will continue to assess our outlook, keep a tight control on expenses and consider implementing other cost savings measures as needed,” he added.
In response, the Vox Media Union, which organized with the Writers Guild of America, East, fired back at the publisher, saying that members of the workforce had already undergone prior layoffs and had spent “three years of working in tough conditions.”
“Our committee spent Friday morning hearing from members of the Vox Media Union as they waited for emails to let them know if they would still have a job. We are coming off of three years of working in tough conditions — through a pandemic with limited resources — and the way our colleagues were treated today is unconscionable. These cuts come after multiple rounds of layoffs in 2022, in which we lost many valued colleagues. We are furious at how this will impact our colleagues who have lost their jobs and remain concerned about the long-term morale of those who remain.
“We are committed to fighting for those who were affected by these layoffs, and holding management accountable for their actions. We won strong severance in our contract, and we are working as a union to further protect our impacted colleagues.
“Cyclical layoffs hurt our brands, hurt our business prospects, hurt our credibility, hurt our values, and hurt our people. Our union knows the greatest asset of Vox Media is its workers. We are grateful for our Vox Media Union, organized with the Writers Guild of America, East,” the union said in a statement.
The layoffs come as many media and tech companies slash their head counts in light of the tough macroeconomic environment. Alphabet announced a plan Friday to lay off 12,000 employees, joining Amazon, Microsoft and Meta, which have also made large cuts.
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