On Thursday, VICE completed a restructuring of the VICE Canada office that resulted in the layoff of 19 union members, more than half of our bargaining unit. We are greatly saddened by the loss of our talented colleagues as part of yet another layoff at VICE. We will miss every single one of you and wish you all well.
Thankfully, our union was able to work with management to mitigate some of the worst effects on our members, including four weeks of severance per year of service (with a minimum of four weeks). We also preserved rare staff roles in editorial, which the union argued forcefully for, taking into account that the majority of editorial staff are women of colour. These wins illustrate why it is crucial for media workers to organize and advocate for themselves.
VICE Canada Union stands in solidarity with VICE workers past and present coming forward with their stories about racism, mistreatment, and pay disparity. This treatment was and is unacceptable, especially in a company that is defined by the bravery and work ethic of its staff.
With collective bargaining negotiations resuming imminently, our union’s bargaining team has committed to proposing new language that will task the company with publishing self-reports and diversity statistics on a regular basis, establishing processes to hire and retain more BIPOC and people from other underrepresented groups, and consulting with the union on issues relevant to the promotion of a diverse workforce. We look forward to working with VICE on these and other issues.