America’s Test Kitchen, the Boston-based media giant that publishes “Cook’s Illustrated” and produces books, magazines, and television programs, laid off 23 workers on Friday, or about 10 percent of its staff.
According to an Instagram post from its union, ATKUnited, 14 union members and 9 non-union staff were let go on Friday. That included the entire team that worked on the ATK Kids brand, the union said, as well as employees in the books and marketing divisions.
ATK representatives did not immediately respond to the Globe’s request for comment, but confirmed to Eater that the company had gone through a “reorganization,” telling Eater that “[while] we firmly believe that our decisions will re-position the company for greater success in this ever-changing media environment, it is a difficult time given that we let go of members of the company who contributed to ATK each in their own way.”
The announcement comes on the heels of America’s Test Kitchen’s recent acquisition by Marquee Brands, which also owns food and lifestyle brands like Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, and Sur La Table. Marquee acquired ATK in February and installed Dan Suratt, a former executive at Roku Studios, as its new CEO.
And it’s the latest turn in a tumultuous few years at ATK. Last year, workers there voted to unionize with Local 1400 of the Communications Workers of America, citing poor working conditions, high turnover, and low pay.
The union says employees were told at the time of the acquisition that no changes would be made to staffing levels. Now the union is advocating for severance packages and healthcare benefits for the 14 workers who were laid off. On Friday, they wore black in solidarity with the co-workers they had lost.
“While it turned out too good to be true that nothing would change post-acquisition, we hope that management will give these loyal, hardworking workers what they deserve,” the union wrote in its Instagram post. “This devastating setback will not defeat us. It will fuel our continued efforts to protect our members.”