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 willing 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.
The editorial staff of Gawker Media, which voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East last summer, approved its first union contract on Tuesday, March 1. The vote was 88-2 in favor of the contract, with 90 out of 99 members of the bargaining unit casting a vote.
Gawker Bargaining Committee Statement
At the onset of this process, we said our priorities were to preserve the good things at Gawker against unilateral change (which we have done with health, dental, vision, and 401(k) benefits and with paid time off); to establish clear understandable rules for pay and benefits (which we have done with defined pay increases, minimums, and benefit protections); to improve transparency (which we have done with the right to meet with the company on editorial policy, corporate policy, and diversity); and to address concerns about editorial independence (which we won with new procedural protections). And we have broken new ground by gaining book rights to material people create for the company and by winning important protections for contractors.
We joined together to ensure we have a voice, representation, and respect in the workplace and in our profession. We believe this contract is an important advance.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ORGANZING A UNION AT YOUR WORKPLACE
The online media industry makes real money. It's now possible to find a career in this industry, rather than just a fleeting job. An organized work force is part of growing up.Read More
That’s why I’m helping to organize our union. That and the fact that I love my job. Working at Gawker Media these past couple years has been a privilege, and I want to make sure all of my coworkers feel valued, secure...Read More
I came to Gawker Media from a newspaper that was falling apart. But we were unionized, and as such, management was forced to deal with us fairly and decently...Read More
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
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.