In the summer of 2015, the editorial staff of Gawker Media voted to organize with the Writers Guild of America East, becoming the first major digital media newsroom to form a union and setting off a wave of organizing across the industry. The union approved its first contract on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, voting 88-2 in favor of the contract, with 90 out of 99 members of the bargaining unit casting a vote.
The editorial, video, and social media staff at Fusion (now known as Splinter) had already begun to organize when its parent company, Univision, bought Gawker Media in August 2016, shuttering the flagship site, Gawker.com, and maintained the remaining sites under Gizmodo Media Group (GMG).
Two months after the acquisition, Fusion staff announced that they were forming a union; management responded with an anti-union email and a series of anti-union meetings, refusing to recognize the union. Shortly thereafter, editorial staff at The Root, which Univision had acquired in May 2015, signed union cards, unanimously affirming their support for unionizing and demanding voluntary recognition.
On November 10, 2016, in the immediate wake of Donald Trump’s election, Fusion staff voted to form a union and demanded voluntary recognition from Univision. At the end of that year, the company announced a massive corporate-wide restructuring that included merging Fusion and The Root into Gizmodo Media Group. As part of the merger, Fusion and The Root employees became GMG employees effective January 1, 2017. The union contract settled with Gawker in March 2016 lives on as the Gizmodo Media Group contract.
The union has remained active on issues important to the unit. Members of the GMG union won a written commitment to indemnification shortly after the acquisition by Univision and members continue to work together to address a range of workplace issues, including diversity, equity, and editorial independence.