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At Condé Nast there's a protest against Anna Wintour

The unions organized a picket line under her residence in the West Village, New York

At Condé Nast there's a protest against Anna Wintour The unions organized a picket line under her residence in the West Village, New York

These have been rather complicated months for Condé Nast, one of the most powerful publishing groups in the world, which in addition to Vogue - in all its 21 different national editions - also controls The New Yorker, W, Glamor, Marie Claire, GQ, Wired, Architectural Digest, WWD, Vanity Fair, and which sees in Anna Wintour the highest commander in chief, after last December's appointment as Chief Content Officer of all Condé Nast magazines, as well as Global Editorial Director of Vogue. In fact, despite the cuts dictated by the pandemic, the protests that arose with the BLM movement and a general request for change after 32 years of leadership, Wintour has remained firmly in her position. 

Despite internal reorganization and the centralization of power in Anna Wintour's hands, The New Yorker has maintained its independence, not bowing to the direct control of Wintour. And it's precisely from the union of the historic American magazine, The New Yorker Union, that a protest has started together with other unions, such as that of Pitchfork, the well-known music magazine, and Ars Technica Unions, and led by the NewsGuild Of New York, the union of American journalists, is reaching its maximum expression in these hours. The various unions have in fact announced a picket under Anna Wintour's residence in the West Village, in New York. As the unions also explained on Instagram, after months of demanding and negotiating for fairer contracts and higher wages, the picket is the last step before a general strike

In the most dramatic moment of the pandemic, in April 2020, Condé Nast announced salary cuts and a general downsizing of the hours of several employees and freelancers, cuts that had involved both the American division of the group and its branches in London, Italy and Paris. Anna Wintour herself had seen her salary reduced by 20%, only to return to pre-pandemic levels as early as September last year, news that had generated some discontent among the employees of Condé Nast, given that Wintour is notoriously one of the highest-paid personalities in the group. In May of last year, Condé Nast had also announced the layoff of 100 employees, putting on leave as many, cutting working hours and greatly upsetting the internal organization, in an attempt not at all hidden to cut costs.

The various cuts and restructuring coincided with the first disputes between the New Yorker union and the company's managers, following the union's request to include a criterion of "fair cause" in the contracts, a way to avoid indiscriminate layoffs and protect jobs. After the protests of BLM and the various accusations against Wintour and Condé Nast of having created and fostered a non-inclusive work environment and that favoured the career advancement of white people, culminating in the Teen Vogue affair, in which the new editor Alexi McCammond had to resign after the surfacing of her old racist tweets, the various unions had also highlighted the different salaries that are paid to members of the Black, Hispanic, or Asian community, on average far lower than those of their white colleagues.

Although the protests have been going on for over a year, a crucial moment seems to have come in the demands and above all in the actions taken by the unions, starting especially from the location of their latest picket, under the lavish apartment of Anna Wintour. They want to send a strong signal, which goes beyond simple wages, but that instead aims at being the symbol of a bigger change, for a deep restructuring, starting from the woman who has been leading Vogue for thirty years.