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The Root Seeks to Unionize With the Writers Guild East

The editorial staff of TheRoot.com has requested unanimously that their employer voluntarily recognize the Writers Guild of America East as its collective bargaining representative.

The WGA East said Wednesday that TheRoot.com is the seventh digital media outlet to unionize with the guild.

On March 1, the WGA East announced that Gawker staffers had ratified the first contract by an 88-2 margin. The guild unionized writers and producers last year at the Huffington Post, Vice, Salon, and ThinkProgress, but Gawker was the first with a union contract.

TheRoot.com is a daily news and analysis website focused on the African American experience. TheRoot.com was founded in 2008 by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donald E. Graham, through The Slate Group. In 2015, the site was sold to Univision Communications.

Univision was not immediately available for comment.

TheRoot.com’s organizing committee said, “This is not a declaration of war. We love The Root. It was the great James Baldwin, who once said, ‘I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ We would like to consider this public statement the beginning of a continual dialogue in which we all work together to make the organization better. We believe through transparent practices, and continuous communication we will create a harmonious and productive work environment for all.”

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said, “Like the editorial employees who are unionizing with the WGAE, we love The Root. We respect and cherish its unique voice, and the people who create that voice through the stories they craft. We are pleased and proud to join with them to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that will address their real concerns and will enable them to build sustainable careers doing their important work.”

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