The development comes six weeks after Fusion organizers announced that a majority of the online editorial staff of about 90 had signed cards designating the WGA East as their representative in negotiations with Fusion. In response, Fusion executives had said they would try to persuade employees not to form a union.
The Fusion Union Organizing Committee sent management a letter on Thursday declaring it was prepared to take action at bureaus across the country if the company didn’t accept a unit and announce a date for a union vote. The company agreed to both of the committee’s terms.
Fusion.net would be the first digital news site within Fusion Media Group to unionize. The WGA East noted that the company recently acquired Gawker Media and assumed its existing WGAE union contract.
The WGA East is also trying to organize Univision’s African-American digital news site, TheRoot.com, and is waiting for the company to voluntarily recognize the union after its entire staff signed union cards.
“The editorial employees who create Fusion’s digital content understand solidarity and collective action,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East. “We are eager to begin the important work of negotiating a contract and ensuring that their voices are heard in the workplace.”
“We’re glad to put this part of the process to bed after a month of requests for voluntary recognition and negotiations for an inclusive bargaining unit,” the Fusion Union Organizing Committee said in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited to meet at the bargaining table, but there is more work to be done. We’d also like to take this time to acknowledge our solidarity with our colleagues and fellow Fusion Media Group employees at The Root.”
Within the past year, the WGA East has become the collective bargaining representative of digital media outlets Vice, The Huffington Post, Salon, and ThinkProgress.
Univision, which acquired the Gawker assets in August for $135 million and agreed to continue the provisions of the WGA East contract at the Gawker sites, which include Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Lifehacker. That contract — the first WGA deal covering digital employees — currently covers about 90 employees.