Main | Thursday, June 04, 2015

Gawker Media Staff Votes To Unionize

Via Gawker:
Yesterday, more than 100 Gawker Media editorial employees voted on the question of whether to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East for the purpose of collective bargaining—that is, whether we want to form a union. The results are in. Yesterday’s votes were cast electronically and tallied by VoteNet, an independent online voting system. Out of 118 eligible voters, 107 cast votes. The results are: Yes: 80 votes—75% No: 27 votes—25%. The next steps: determining what we want to bargain for; forming a bargaining committee; and negotiating a contract. We are unionized.
Gawker Media includes its namesake site, Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker, I09, Jalopnik, and Gizmodo. The Writers Guild has issued a statement:
“As Gawker’s writers have demonstrated, organizing in digital media is a real option, not an abstraction. People who do this work really can come together for their own common good,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “The WGAE, Gawker’s writers, and the company’s management share a commitment to journalistic integrity and creative freedom. We are eager for Gawker’s editorial staff to join our creative community, and we are eager to negotiate a fair contract.”
From the New York Times:
The Gawker effort is unusual in numerous ways, starting with the fact that its supporters say Gawker is currently a good place to work. Many say they want a union as a sort of insurance policy in case the next generation of managers is not so nice. “We’re in a very good place right now,” wrote Anne Merlan, a Jezebel writer, in an online debate about unionizing. “But we also exist in a bubble. When it bursts, I’d like us to have fair labor practices in place to protect everyone and provide for them in the event of ‘downsizing.'” In another twist, the company has not opposed the unionization drive; indeed, Gawker’s founder, Nick Denton, said he was “intensely relaxed” about it. The company and the Writers Guild East even issued a joint statement: “We believe the cumbersome and often fractious process of unionization is premised on an assumption of complete antagonism between management and labor. Nothing of the kind exists at Gawker Media.”

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