Pageant Media Workers' Guild statement on abrupt layoffs
On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Pageant Media Limited enacted layoffs and business changes impacting six members of our unit. These changes notably impacted our visible unit leadership in the immediate wake of our organizing victory. Three of our members — including our Unit Chair, David Isenberg, and Vice Chair, Luke Tuchscherer — were told their work was no longer needed due to management’s plan to restructure the business. A fourth member was offered a role back in London at half the salary he currently works for in New York. The remaining two PMWG members were informed they would be interviewing for a newly created managerial spot, with only one selected individual retaining their employment at the company after Pageant’s senior management decides who would fill the role. All were union supporters known to management.
When our unit heard this news, we were disappointed and caught off guard. Before the announcements, management made no attempts to satisfy their obligation to bargain in good faith with the unit – including their legal obligation to maintain the status quo until their bargaining obligation is satisfied. The only exchange that occurred in regard to the layoffs was vague communications between management’s lawyer and our NewsGuild representative. Pageant has also presented our unit members with conflicting narratives for the reasoning behind the layoffs, saying they were a part of a planned restructuring but also attributing the changes to the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At the moment, we are pursuing multiple options to push for the reinstatement of our colleagues so we can be made whole once again.
We are deeply concerned about the posture that Pageant has taken toward our union. When we won our NLRB election with over 83% support from the US editorial office, Pageant’s CEO Charlie Kerr issued a statement that “[W]e welcome the Pageant Media Workers Guild to the Pageant family and look forward to a constructive working relationship.” We maintain hope that the company is still seeking a constructive working relationship, as we believe Pageant can only be made better through our combined efforts.