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John Oliver, Samantha Bee Back the Onion Unionization

John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Chris Gethard are among the over 150 comedy/variety television writers who are publicly supporting Onion Inc. unionizing with the Writers Guild of America East.

Friday’s announcement came a week after the editorial and video staff at Onion Inc., which operates the web sites the Onion, A/V Club, and Clickhole, announced that more than 90% of its staff of 100 had voted through a card check to unionize with the WGA East.

Management has yet to voluntarily recognize the Guild as the staff’s collective bargaining representative and a rep said last week, “We are dedicated to providing an environment where all our employees can thrive and we respect their right to unionize. We have begun having discussions with the WGAE about the path forward and hope to arrive at an arrangement in short order.”

The solidarity statement reads, “We are proud to welcome the creative staff of Onion, Inc. to the Writers Guild of America, East. Amid rapid media and political changes, media professionals continue to stand together to uphold and improve working conditions and freedom of creative expression. Our work is collaborative and standing together as union members is a logical expression of that collaboration. As comedy and entertainment writers, we applaud Onion Inc.’s inclusionary vision—with The Onion, ClickHole, The A.V. Club, Onion Labs, and the essential contributions of Onion Inc.’s video and art departments—coming together to build a union. We’re thrilled to stand with our colleagues.”

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said, “Solidarity is a fundamental part of our union’s strength.  Our members collaborate in their work and in their union, and we are proud that the editorial and production employees at Onion, Inc. will become part of this community of creative professionals.”

The guild represents digital-first editorial and video staffs at Gizmodo Media Group, Vox Media, HuffPost, Vice, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Thrillist and Salon. Here is a link to the letter.

 

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