The current three-year contract between Village Voice Media and UAW Local 2110, representing the workers of The Village Voice, expires midnight June 30. The membership has unanimously passed a strike authorization vote.
Over the past three years, the Voice staff has been cut by an estimated 60%, and average annual salaries have markedly diminished. Management has so far played hardball with the union, refusing to make an offer, while demanding extensive concessions from the newspaper’s staff, including a substantial, ever-increasing contribution to an inferior health plan, as well as the elimination of management’s own contribution to employees’ retirement accounts. The union membership sees the quality of their medical coverage as the critical issue. “That’s why I came to work here,” said one staff writer. “The health insurance is the one thing that made low wages bearable.”
In the event of a work stoppage, writers, bloggers, photographers, editors, designers, and sales staff—as well as former Voice staff members and other supporters—will be publishing an alternate website,TheRealVoice.org, where readers will find the same high-quality writing there that they currently enjoy in the paper and on Voice blogs.
A strike benefit will be held on Wednesday, June 29, at Public Assembly (70 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-384-4586), featuring the bands Fort Lean, K-Holes, and Alan Watts. The suggested $10 donation will go to the Village Voice Strike Fund.Voice alumni, including many distinguished writers and editors, are expected to attend.