5 years ago

Unions Are Gaining a Foothold at Digital Media Companies

Unions Are Gaining a Foothold at Digital Media Companies
In the first tweet, Mr. Lopez said, “I am against #VoxUnion.” He followed
that one by arguing that some writers wanted a union “as protection for laziness.” He added that Vox was “a generous company” and “some people want to take advantage of that.”
Then a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Lopez changed his mind, swayed by the idea
that the company’s generosity isn’t set in stone and that new management could roll back benefits.
In recent months, 50 employees at Mashable were let go after the digital publisher Ziff Davis bought the website for $50 million, BuzzFeed fired 100 business
and British editorial employees after missing its 2017 revenue targets, and Refinery29 laid off 34 staff members.
Writers and editors at other digital publications — including The Intercept, Salon, Slate, Thrillist
and MTV News — have since affiliated themselves with the Writers Guild of America East, citing a need for better wages and benefits.
“That comes to things like transparency on pay, having a decent pay scale
that allows a ladder of sustainability where you can support yourself on such an income, and having due process and a guarantee of severance in the case of layoffs,” Mr. Marans said.
Lowell Peterson, the executive director of Writers Guild of America East, denounced the tendency of executives at
online media companies to make important decisions concerning company strategy without the input of employees.
Kim Kelly, an editor at Noisey, Vice Media’s music
and culture section, said fair wages had played a central role in Vice Media employees’ decision to go union.