The decision, announced on Thursday, came after a third-party check confirmed that a majority of the company’s content creators had signed cards with the WGA East and that a majority of the company’s post-production employees had signed cards with MPEG through Local 700 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
The staff and freelance employees work on video content for Vice.com, cable channel Viceland, and Vice programming on HBO. The WGA already represents approximately 100 journalists working on written content for Vice.com in a deal that was signed in 2015.
Talks were initiated with management following a May 1 letter from the Vice Union Organizing Committee. WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson said contract negotiations will start soon.
“Vice is at the forward edge of the media industry’s transformation,” he added. “The WGAE knows it is essential for people who create content in this dynamic environment to have a seat at the table as the way the work is done — the way the content is made and distributed — continue to change. We have built a constructive relationship with Vice management and applaud the company for continuing to respect the right of its employees to engage in collective bargaining.”
MPEG president Alan Heim said, “We’re proud to welcome aboard the post-production professionals whose talents and hard work helped build Vice into the news and entertainment juggernaut it has become. These craftspeople on the cutting edge of our industry have made clear that the future of work in this business is one in which traditional union values of mutual aid and solidarity remain vital.”
The WGA East has been active in organizing New York-based digital news sites in recent years, including Huffington Post, Gawker Media, and Salon Media. The Vice employees are based in Brooklyn.
“Vice is made up of thousands of the finest storytellers, filmmakers, producers, writers, and creatives,” a Vice spokesperson said. “Working with employees who voted to join WGA-East and Local 700 and those who opted not to, we’ll continue to advance a shared mission to make Vice home to the most innovative, entrepreneurial and progressive minds in media. We hope these efforts will include collectively joining forces to ensure New York State is doing everything in its power to support our content creators and our Brooklyn HQ.”