The Village Voice Lays Off Most of Their Union Workforce
On Wednesday, 13 of the 17 union workers at The Village Voice were told that they were being laid off after the Voice wraps up their final print edition in the third week of September. About half of the Village Voice’s staff has been unionized by UAW Local 2110 since 1977.
Tensions were already high at the newspaper; the union’s contract expired at the end of June, and management aggressively proposed eliminating many long-standing job security, grievance rights, childcare, retirement, and affirmative action provisions from the contract. After the union pushed back, the company agreed to extend the previous contract through February and said they wanted the union to be a part of the digital Village Voice.
The layoffs disproportionately affect the unionized staff of the Voice, and workers were not given individual reasons why their jobs were being eliminated. The workers being laid off include an associate copy editor, social media content producer, a news reporter, and other titles that are equally necessary for the online edition of The Village Voice. UAW Local 2110 president Maida Rosenstein says that no nonunion workers were laid off, and the union plans to look into whether the firing of the majority of the union staff was retaliatory or unlawful. “We were shocked,” said Rosenstein. “And frankly, we’re appalled because of the proportion of the bargaining unit being let go.”