After a weeks long anti-union campaign from their employer, Fusion editorial and video staff voted to unionize in November 2016. Shortly thereafter, Univision announced the merger of Fusion and The Root into Gizmodo Media Group (formerly Gawker). As of January 1, 2017, the editorial and production staff of Fusion and The Root became GMG employees and joined the existing bargaining unit and union contract.
Fusion’s mission statement says, “We champion a young, diverse, and inclusive America from the inside out.” We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done as individuals and as a publication in pursuit of that mission. That’s why we, collectively, would like a seat at the table in charting the future direction of Fusion and our role within the organization. Because we deeply believe in this mission and the ideas espoused in our inclusive body of work, we decided to organize a union with the Writers Guild of America, East.
Fusion has produced an impressive body of work about how the right to organize is critical for American workers. It’s time we practice what we preach. It’s important that this process is transparent and democratic, and we want anyone involved to be able to participate in the conversation about unionizing. This is just the beginning of that process and so to begin the public conversation, here are some of the reasons why we are unionizing.
Compensation & Pay: We seek to establish an equitable and transparent compensation policy, including salary minimums for all positions and a standard for raises.
Newsroom Communication & Transparency: In the world of digital journalism, job responsibilities can sometimes change very quickly. We are all aware that news relevant to our audience sometimes happens after hours or over the weekend, and we’re eager to make sure we’re covering it well. However, it is important to clearly communicate shifts in editorial structure, priorities, and individual responsibilities.
Establishing Standards for Hiring, Firing and Disciplinary Actions: We should have clear standards and procedures in place for judging performance. Negotiating a union contract is a way to set and enforce clear standards, as well as a way to avoid inequitable disciplinary procedures or terminations without just cause.
Diversity: It’s clear this is an area our company performs better in than most, but we want to formally preserve Fusion’s commitment to diverse hires. We would like to explore clear and distinct processes by which our company seeks to increase and maintain the diversity of its employees and ensure more opportunities for women and people of color to advance within the company.
Employee advancement: We seek a clear process by which an employee can begin on the path to advancement. We also seek to establish regular training programs whereby employees can learn new skills and share their own institutional knowledge with each other.
Editorial Freedom and Independence: We think that Fusion can be of the greatest service to its audience when journalists have freedom to pursue stories without fear of undue influence, intervention, or retaliation. We seek to establish clear policies on discipline and termination, as well as create mechanisms for staff to participate in crafting editorial policy.
Sustainable Career Paths: We seek to negotiate a contract that gives Fusion employees access to programs to build a sustainable career, such as but not limited to supportive family leave policies, protecting paid time-off policies and preserving and protecting benefits like healthcare and retirement.
Next Steps: We have formed an organizing committee to work on building our union. You are encouraged to join with us. If you want to get more involved or have questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of us will get in touch.
The Fusion Union Organizing Committee