Canadian media union seeks meeting with Vice, looks for alternatives to layoffs

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TORONTO — The union that represents half of the employees at Vice Canada’s office in Toronto says it’s disappointed by reports that its U.S. parent plans about 155 layoffs worldwide.

Canadian Media Guild president Carmel Smyth says the union hasn’t been informed how many CMG members will be affected but the union has asked to meet with management.

The CMG represents about 40 of the 80 employees at Vice’s office in Toronto.

A memo to Vice staff said that 55 people in the United States would be cut Friday and about 100 others outside the country would be cut in coming weeks.

Vice didn’t respond to emails to its Toronto and New York offices.

Smyth says CMG is hoping to help Vice find solutions that avoid layoffs despite an environment that makes it difficult for content producers to make money.

“We remain hopeful that the company will honour our agreement and meet us to ensure the future success of Vice’s Canadian operations.

But she added there needs to be a level playing field between Canadian news companies that produce content and juggernauts like Facebook and Google that distribute it.

Vice originated as an edgy Canadian publication but diversified into many formats including television and expanded internationally with its headquarters in New York City.