Shortly after the entire editorial staff of The Root signed union cards, 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.
The Root’s mission has always been to champion the voice of marginalized African Americans. As a publication, we not only report on those who are often underreported, but we investigate, cheer, encourage and explore the ways in which the playing field can and should be evened. At The Root, we have always prided ourselves in being a small, intimate website that competes with bigger publications. We have always considered the work that we do to be a cumulative effort as we are all on the same team. Because we all believe in the potential, direction, and vision of The Root, we want to ensure that we have a voice in the process and so we are organizing a union with the Writers Guild of America, East.
This is not a declaration of war. We love The Root. It was the great James Baldwin, who once said, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” We would like to consider this public statement the beginning of a continual dialogue in which we all work together to make the organization better. We believe through transparent practices, and continuous communication we will create a harmonious and productive work environment for all. Below are some of the reasons we believe that a union is vital to this process.
Compensation & Pay: We seek to establish a transparent and equitable salary structure , which would include salary minimums and a standard for raises and bonuses.
Newsroom Communication & Transparency: We know that job responsibilities may change. We also know that because we are a small staff we may have to jump in and assist with several tasks as they are assigned. What we’d like to establish is a clear set of requirements for each job title that includes expectations and individual responsibilities. We should also have clear notification of jobs as they become available throughout Fusion Media Group (FMG).
Competitive Health care: We seek the opportunity to choose between at least two competitive health plans that are conducive to our diverse medical needs, while continuing to build on supportive family leave policies, protecting paid time-off policies and preserving retirement.
Employee advancement: We seek a clear process for advancement within the organization. We also seek access to training programs, and dialogue with employees throughout FMG so institutional knowledge can be shared.
Next Steps: We have all signed union cards expressing our choice to form a union with the Writers Guild of America, East. We expect that the company will respect that decision, recognize our union and take next steps towards collective bargaining. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that The Root is a just and equitable workplace.
The Root Editorial Union