Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have pulled out of next week’s New Yorker Festival in solidarity with unionized magazine staffers — who are locked in a labor dispute with management.
The two Democrats were slated to appear Monday as keynote speakers for the star-studded annual event, which will be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But members of The New Yorker Union — who have been seeking to obtain contracts that include a “just cause” provision — planned a “virtual picket line” for that night and had asked the progressive pols to reconsider their participation, according to The New York Times.
“The NewsGuild and The New Yorker Union are fighting for basic dignity on the job and we stand with them,” Ocasio-Cortez and Warren said in a statement to the Times.
“We will not cross the picket line and attend the festival unless The New Yorker leadership agrees to the union’s demands — they should do so immediately.”
The union representing workers for the publication was formed in 2018, but has yet to reach a work contract with the New Yorker’s management, according to the Times.
At the heart of the dispute is the “just cause” clause, which gives a standard that must be met for an employer to discipline or fire employees.
A spokeswoman for the New Yorker said the magazine was eager to reach an agreement with the union.
“Like many other media outlets, The New Yorker strongly believes that its editorial standards should not be determined by arbitrators outside of The New Yorker, and we look forward to our continued discussions regarding just cause in the context of bargaining,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to the Times.
Those who bought tickets for the virtual event with the lawmakers were notified Wednesday that they would receive refunds, the spokeswoman added.