×

Writers Guild Launches Unionizing Drive at Gawker Media

The Writers Guild of America East has launched a unionization effort at Gawker Media,  which operates news and niche sites Gawker, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, io9, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Jezebel.

Reps of the guild met Wednesday with Gawker employees.

Gawker staffer Hamilton Nolan explained the reasons behind the effort. He acknowleged that Gawker is a good place to work but added, “Every workplace could use a union. A union is the only real mechanism that exists to represent the interests of employees in a company. A union is also the only real mechanism that enables employees to join together to bargain collectively, rather than as a bunch of separate, powerless entities. This is useful in good times (which our company enjoys now), and even more in bad times (which will inevitably come).”

Lowell Peterson, exec director of the WGA East, issued a statement on Friday.

“The Writers Guild of America East has a long history of representing writers and others in broadcast news, and we have been at the forefront of organizing digital media,” said Peterson. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the writers at Gawker and its affiliated websites – men and women who are dedicated to crafting stories that elucidate and entertain. Like all professional journalists and storytellers, these writers deserve a voice on the job.”

Since 2009, WGA East has focused most of its organizing efforts in nonfiction television. It has collective bargaining agreements with three production companies — Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods. and Lion TV — and is negotiating with ITV and Original Media.

The guild was certified by the National Labor Relations Board last month as a collective bargaining representative for freelance producers and associate producers at Jane Street Entertainment.

“The way people write, produce, distribute and consume news and information is changing in fundamental ways,” Peterson said. “The WGAE knows the union and its members must be active, alert and creative in responding to (and shaping) this transformation. Gawker has long stood as a leader in digital media thanks to the skills, dedication and foresight of its staff, who have decided to take an active role in building solid, sustainable careers.

UPDATE, 1:56 p.m. PDT — Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs told Variety: “As I’ve said elsewhere, my pro-labor sympathies are no secret around here. It’s a cause I support both in the abstract, for sentimental and philosophical reasons, and in the particular.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content