Vice Union Says Company ‘Refused’ to Discuss Workshare Programs to Avoid Layoffs

Union pushes back on Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc’s assertion the company did “absolutely everything” to protect positions

The Vice Union issued a statement Friday after Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc announced 155 layoffs, pushing back on her claim that she and the company had done all they could to preserve the positions.

The union statement quotes Dubuc’s Friday email to staff: “I want you to know that we’ve done absolutely everything we could to protect these positions for as long as possible, and your time and contributions will forever be part of who we are and who we will become.”

“In fact, for more than a month, Vice repeatedly refused to discuss workshare programs, like the one the Los Angeles Times used to avoid layoffs, with our union. Vice also did not agree to make further cuts to executive compensation before laying off 100 employees,” it went on.

The statement concluded, “We understand that the entire news industry is hurting. We do not understand why Vice chose to lay off many of our colleagues in the middle of a global pandemic instead of exhausting all options to save these jobs.”

A representative for Vice did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap on the union’s statement.

Earlier Friday, Dubuc said in a staff memo, “While I often have to talk about ‘the business,’ we all know that VICE Media Group is so much more than just a business. It’s our community. It’s our voice. It’s a reason to remain resolutely hopeful in this time.”

She wrote that by eliminating open roles and reassigning existing staffers to the “growing news division” that will give global sites a separate “Vice World News Section,” the company was “able to preserve approximately 90% of the roles in the digital organization.”

In April, Vice pushed back on a Wall Street Journal report citing leaked documents that suggested the company would see 300 layoffs in the coming weeks. At the end of March, Vice cut salaries for some employees, shortened employee workweeks and halted 401k contributions as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the American economy and, thus, digital advertising revenue.

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