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Salon Staff to Unionize With Writers Guild

The editorial staff at digital media outlet Salon has announced plans to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East.

“Every single one of the editorial employees at Salon supports unionizing with the Writers Guild of America East, and today we’re asking the management of Salon to recognize our union,” the staff said in a statement issued Thursday.

Salon management was not immediately available for response.

“We are doing this because we believe in our publication and want it to be successful,” it said. “We’re especially proud to work for a media organization that has championed progressive values for nearly twenty years. We believe this organizing campaign is a positive and public way for us to put those values into practice, right here at home.”

The move comes a month after the editorial staff at digital media publisher Gawker Media voted to unionize with the WGA East by an 80-27 margin. Gawker’s owners had agreed to abide by the vote.

“In the wake of the Gawker staff’s vote to organize with the WGAE, we see an opportunity to help establish standards and practices in Internet journalism,” the letter said. “It’s an exciting moment for our field, and we want Salon to be at the forefront of change.”

“As the surprising example set by the management and editorial staff of Gawker has made clear, the process of collective bargaining can commit management, editors and writers to work together in a new way. That’s a critically important first step, and we are here to make it together,” the letter concluded.

Gawker and the guild announced on May 27 that the vote would bypass the traditional route of conducting the election through the National Labor Relations Board. They said that going through the federal government presumed an antagonism between employers and employees that does not exist at the Gawker Media sites.

Lowell Peterson, exec director of the WGA East, said the guild was “deeply pleased” to have the Salon staffers supporting a unionization bid.

“We agree that they can make a real difference in their own lives, and in the standards of digital media generally, by negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with their employer,” Peterson said. “Our members share their commitment to crafting thoughtful stories, and understand that joining a union of creative professionals is an essential part of building sustainable careers doing meaningful work.”

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