Hearst Magazines Employees Vote to Unionize After Protracted Fight

Hundreds of writers and editors across Hearst Corp.’s magazine division have voted to unionize after a monthslong organizing effort marked by increased tension between management and staff.

Union organizers said the protracted effort was met with resistance from Hearst management, particularly magazine unit president Troy Young, who resigned last week following the 

Mr. Young didn’t respond to messages seeking comment, but in a note, he sent to staff before the announcement of his resignation, he said he understood that the incidents that were reported were offensive.

The vote creates a collective-bargaining unit across 28 digital and print properties in the Hearst portfolio, from Esquire and Good Housekeeping to Town & Country and Runner’s World. The unit encompasses some 500 editorial, video, design, and photo staffers, said the Writers Guild of America, East.

“Hearst is not just about a storied brand; it’s about the hard work of the people who are involved with writing, editing, and producing the stories that educate and inspire and delight readers and viewers,” Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director, said in a statement.

He said the staff had “voted overwhelmingly” in order “to make their voices heard in the workplace, to ensure that their needs and interests and priorities are addressed.”

The vote, which was administered by the National Labor Relations Board, passed 241 to 83, the union said. The magazines’ staff announced in November their intention to unionize, but the union said management waged a legal battle at the NLRB to delay the vote and break the bargaining unit up into six groups. The NLRB rejected the company’s argument in May and ordered the vote.

In a statement, Hearst Magazines said that the company had “been listening to our editorial teams’ aspirations for the company and will continue to address and act on them.”

“We remain committed to providing an equitable work environment that embraces diversity, transparency, fair compensation, and best-in-class editorial standards,” the statement said. “Now it is time to forge a path together.”