ten days ago, News emerged of mass layoffs In Sports Illustrated. Since then, not much has happened.
Some believed, given the sweeping nature of the initial statements, that the international order was simply disappearing. This did not happen. However, enough employees were laid off for legal action to be taken by the union representing SI workers.
On Thursday, the NewsGuild of New York and the Sports Illustrated Union took legal action against The Arena Group over its recent layoffs.
An unfair labor practice charge accuses a company of terminating employees for supporting a union, participating in union activities, and engaging in other protected activities.
“It is clear that Arena Group ownership is using a staged SI licensing dispute as cover to bankrupt the union and illegally target our members,” said Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York. He said in a statement issued on Monday. “Filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board is just the first step, as we continue to explore all options available to our membership.”
The press release notes that Ross Levinson has resigned from The Arena Group's board of directors, citing “the erasure of the Sports Illustrated newsroom and . . . union-busting tactics.”
The statement also states that on January 19, every SI member was told that they would be laid off due to the cancellation of The Arena Group's license to publish Sports Illustrated content. “However, supervisors and managers at the post have not been laid off,” Monday’s statement explains.
It's unclear what's going on. There's a lot of new content on SI.com, featuring bylines from real human beings (which, when it comes to SI, It can no longer be assumed).
So it appears there is still a viable business, although the events of 10 days ago have led many to assume that Sports Illustrated's digital operation has run as, you know, the weekly Sports Illustrated magazine.
Making consumers think SI is dead may not be a great PR strategy. However, this may be a good way to get rid of a group of unionized employees. If not, you know, all of them.
“Devoted student. Bacon advocate. Beer scholar. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot. Typical coffee enthusiast.”