The Writers Guild of America, East is a labor union of thousands of creative professionals who create digital media, television and motion pictures. For decades the Writers Guild has been essential in fighting for better standards in working conditions, compensation, and the respect of dignity of members. Our mission is to build a community of creative professionals with the willingness to support each other and the power to secure fair industry standards.
It is natural for one’s job responsibilities to shift over time depending on the needs of the company and the industry. But dramatic changes to employees’ workload and responsibilities, made without employee input, hinder our ability to produce our best work. Contract negotiations can establish protocols for changing workplace policies, adding work responsibilities, and advocating for equitable and transparent compensation.
We work in an ever changing industry. The pace of change and innovation is what makes the work exciting but it’s also what leaves us and our colleagues vulnerable. A union is a formal mechanism to advocate for each other and to address systemic issues at the company and in our profession, which is essential in good times and bad.
The only way to ensure reporters and writers can hold the monied and powerful accountable is if they are guaranteed protection from retaliation. A union contract is one way to ensure that powerful people and institutions can’t use their influence to dictate coverage or squash stories that are unflattering.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ORGANIZING A UNION AT YOUR WORKPLACE
Our goal is to establish fair standards and working conditions not just at one company, but everywhere in the industry. As we organize each individual media company along the way, we will negotiate contracts that win real improvements and move everyone closer to the kind of standards needed industry-wide
Shortly after news broke that Thrillist had secured a $100 million investment as part of a deal to merge with three other digital properties and create a new media behemoth, a few of us on the editorial staff began discussing the possibility of unionizing.
The Intercept, the investigative journalism site founded by Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, has voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America East as the collective bargaining representative of its 32-member staff.
Wednesday night, Gawker Media voted to unionize. The stats: 107 of 118 eligible voters cast secret ballots, 80 of whom voted yes. Just like that, Gawker will become the first digital-only news site to have a union.
The Gawker unionization drive shows that many young people support a union for the same reasons that many of their parents and grandparents did decades ago, when organized labor was far stronger.