The boss of the media big that publishes People and Entertainment Weekly sparked a ruckus when he introduced he was handing out a spherical of “thank you” bonuses to most staff — however in the meantime jilted a small group of unionized, rank-and-file workers, The Post has realized.
Insiders mentioned greater than 200 unionized staff at Meredith — the publishing behemoth whose titles additionally embrace Better Homes & Gardens, InType and Real Simple — are fuming as a result of they aren’t getting the $1,000, one-time money bump, regardless of working lengthy hours and taking on extra work throughout the pandemic.
The uproar began on Aug. 10, when Chief Executive Tom Harty circulated an e-mail to three,200-odd staffers, thanking them for his or her onerous work throughout the pandemic. Meredith mentioned it was distributing $1,000 payouts to “eligible employees,” with those that began working at the company after Jan. 1 getting $500.
“I am extremely proud of the way Meredith employees have stepped up during this transformational year,” Harty mentioned in an e-mail leaked to The Post. “We could not achieve results without each and every person in this organization, that includes you.”
Nevertheless, insiders mentioned it rapidly grew to become clear that the bonuses weren’t for every particular person, and that “eligible employees” didn’t embrace those that have been a part of the News Guild of New York. About 200 unionized workers at People, Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living and Shape have been shortchanged, sources mentioned.
Soon after, sources mentioned indignant unionized workers together with entry-to-mid-level editors, writers and researchers throughout Meredith’s publications referred to as an impromptu meeting on Zoom.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” one longtime worker complained on the decision, which was attended by a couple of dozen staffers, in line with a supply. “The email was basically an F-you from Tom Harty,” one other worker griped.
In response, the company’s union fired off an e-mail to Harty and prime brass, copying tons of of staffers and prompting upwards of 60 replies from miffed staff.
“Tom Harty, your $1,000 wouldn’t even pay my rent,” one hacked-off employee wrote. Another added, “It’s my opinion that $1,000 isn’t enough, so to be denied even that amount is beyond insulting.”
“Meredith values the contributions of all of our team members,” a spokeswoman for Meredith mentioned. “Union members choose to have a representative bargain with the company over their compensation, including bonuses and time off, and those negotiations are starting shortly.”
The bonus battle is the newest in a tense backwards and forwards between Meredith’s prime brass and staff who fashioned a union with the News Guild of New York. According to at least one supply, Meredith’s prime brass has punished unionized staff by withholding summer time Fridays like their non-unionized colleagues.
After Harty’s e-mail, sources mentioned Meredith’s senior vice chairman of human resources adopted up, telling union staff they weren’t getting the bonus as a result of contract negotiations have been underway.
“It’s the status quo at Meredith to blame union,” sniffed a staffer, who mentioned that company has used contract negotiations as an excuse over time for not giving promotions or raises.
Meredith, primarily based in Des Moines, Iowa, inherited 5 unionized magazines in its $2.8 billion takeover of Time Inc. in January 2018. It subsequently offered off Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money, leaving People’s print journal as its solely unionized publication. Two years later, the editorial workers Meredith’s Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape and People’s TV and digital unit all adopted swimsuit opting to even be represented by the News Guild of New York.
It’s the primary time the union is bargaining with Meredith, because the prior contract was below Time Inc.
Meredith’s stock, in the meantime, is up greater than 200 % over the previous year, in comparison with a 30 % achieve for the broader market, helped by the company’s $2.7 billion deal in May to sell its local broadcasting business to Gray Television so as to focus on its digital and journal unit.
Harty himself raked in additional than $7.2 million in complete compensation final year, in line with authorities filings. His base wage was knocked down barely within the wake of the pandemic — from $1 million in 2019 to $966,616 final year.
The common take-home pay for a News Guild-represented Meredith worker is $71,000 in line with the union.