Unionizing a workplace is – in and of itself – a mechanism to diversify and democratize an industry. Union contracts typically improve and preserve important employment issues, including healthcare costs and equitable compensation, and unionized industries have less wage disparity. In addition to the benefits of a union contract, unionized workplaces have a democratic structure in place to support each other, share information, and strategize about how to address issues through collective action.
In a unionized workplace, union members come together to use their collective power to stand together in solidarity to address issues of justice. The fundamental difference between an organized and unorganized workplace is that in a union, members have a mechanism to unite and use their collective power to advocate for shared needs and exercise collective power to get those needs met.
While unionizing shifts the power dynamic in a workplace and industry, there are also ways in which WGAE members are explicitly addressing the issue of diversity. Generally speaking, the word “diversity” describes two concepts:
(1) Representation – A primary goal is achieving workplaces with enough demographic variety at all levels, including leadership, such that no one person has to bear the sole duty of representing a single group, and
(2) Power – Who gets to make decisions about which stories get told and how.
Across newsrooms and workplaces, members share common goals and concerns, including:
– Actively increasing the recruitment, retention, and mentorship of people traditionally underrepresented in media
– Sharing information and best practices in writing about specific issues and communities
– Examining and addressing pay equity and disparities along race and gender lines
Union members are addressing these issues in a variety of ways, including:
– Tracking demographic data
– Calling for unconscious bias trainings
– Actively participating in recruitment efforts, including a requirement to inform union diversity committee members of all open job positions
– Demanding clear answers from companies about what they are doing to support employees, regardless of immigration status