Jalopnik, Other Gawker Media Writers To Unionize
It’s official: Writers for Gawker Media’s online publications, including our friends at Jalopnik, have voted to unionize.
Out of 118 eligible voters throughout the online-only media company, 107 cast their vote Wednesday to decide whether or not to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, Gawker reports. The results came to 75 percent (80 votes) in favor, 25 percent (27 votes) opposed.
As for how some of Jalopnik‘s staff voted, writer Raphael Orlove said he supported the move to unionize despite reservations regarding demands other Gawker Media writers have been making. Orlove goes on to state he would like the contract to focus on safeguarding against the company when it makes moves to the detriment of those who, while valuable as far as writing talent goes, are the least equipped to sort out the messes left behind.
Meanwhile, editor of subsidiary Black Flag Stef Schrader said she would likely vote against unionizing, based on Gawker’s unique situation as a company and WGA’s focus on more traditional forms of media. Schrader adds she and other remote employees haven’t received replies to emails about what WGA does from the union itself – asking for any organization working to represent the employees be “as responsive as work on the web demands,” especially with those not in New York – and is concerned for the company’s contractors who are prohibited from joining the WGA by the National Labor Relations Board, leaving them vulnerable come negotiation time.
And Gawker Media owner and founder Nick Denton’s take on the vote? In response to a comment from former vice president of editorial and sometimes Jalopnik contributor Joel Johnson, Denton praised the transparency leading up to the vote, an aspect his company says could be applied even further than the “transparent to a fault” stance already present. He also looks forward to working with whomever the writers choose to represent them during the company’s strategic discussions.
The next step? Jalopnik Editor-in-Chief Travis Okulski explains:
Gawker writers have approved the WGA to negotiate a contract on their behalf with Gawker management. If the contract is agreeable, which I think is what they expect, we’re unionized. If not, ties are dissolved or a new contract would be brought to the table.
Should all go as planned, Gawker Media would be the first online-only media company ever to have union representation. Time will tell if other companies follow in Gawker’s footsteps.
[Image credit: Jalopnik]
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