The guild announced Wednesday that more than 80% of Thrillist’s editorial staff — which numbers about 70 — have signed cards declaring the WGA East as their representative in collective bargaining. The male-focused Thrillist site, which launched in 2004, has more than 20 million monthly visitors.
The WGA East has made unionization of New York-based digital media a priority in recent years. The guild represents editorial staffs at MTV News, The Huffington Post, VICE, Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion, The Root, ThinkProgress and Salon.
“As the digital media industry continues to transform, it is essential that the editorial employees who create the content are not marginalized, that they get a seat at the table as the critical decisions about working conditions and employment are made,” said Lowell Peterson, exec director of the WGA East. “Thrillist’s editorial staff is part of a movement of digital writers, editors, producers, and others, who want to negotiate contracts with enforceable terms and conditions, contracts that will ensure that digital media are a place to do independent work and build sustainable careers.”
The Thrillist Unionizing Committee said, “The rate of change in the media landscape, and Thrillist’s urgent determination to remain at the forefront of that landscape, has made clear to us that the best way to protect our rights as workers and ensure the company’s continued success is to speak as a united voice, as our colleagues at MTV News, Huffington Post, VICE, Gizmodo, and many other organizations have already done.”
The committee said the reasons for unionizing include pushing for transparency; diversity in hiring and leadership; equitable salary, compensation, and benefits; and standards around hiring, firing, and disciplinary action.
“We believe employees at every level do their best work when they know they are working in a secure, collegial environment,” the committee said. “We’d like clear, common-sense standards for judging performance and the assurance that those standards will be adhered to at every stage of an employee’s tenure at Thrillist.”
Management had no immediate response.