The editorial and video staffs at the Onion, A.V. Club and Clickhole have unionized with the Writers Guild of America East.
The guild announced Thursday that “an overwhelming majority” of the staff, comprised of about 100 employees, have signed union cards and called on management to voluntarily recognize the WGA East as the collective bargaining representative.
Onion Inc., which operates the satirical sites the Onion and Clickhole and the cultural site, is part of the Fusion Media Group. The WGA East currently represents editorial and video staffs at the Fusion owned Gizmodo Media Group, which includes sites Splinter News, the Root, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik and Earther.
“We are dedicated to providing an environment where all our employees can thrive and we respect their right to unionize,” a spokesperson for the Onion Inc. said. “We have begun having discussions with the WGAE about the path forward and hope to arrive at an arrangement in short order.”
In 2011, comedy/variety writers for The Onion’s satirical television news show, “Onion News Network,” joined the WGA East. The show aired for two seasons on IFC.
The WGA East has been active in organizing digital news sites for the past three years and now reps about 1,000 members in that area, including Vice, HuffPost, the Intercept, Gizmodo Media Group (Splinter, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, the Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik, Earther), ThinkProgress, MTV News, Thrillist, and Salon. In January, Vox Media agreed to recognize the guild as the collective bargaining representative of approximately 400 employees.
Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said, “We welcome the editorial and production employees at Onion, Inc. to the movement for collective bargaining in digital media. Working together, we can build power and make concrete gains in the workplace as we have at GMG and across the digital media landscape.”
The Onion Inc. Organizing Committee issued a statement saying, “Onion Inc. is unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. By organizing, we intend to protect the culture and values that make Onion Inc. a singularly great place to work and establish a formal means by which the employees have a collective and meaningful voice in our workplace. We’ve seen the positive effects of unions across digital media newsrooms, especially at our Gizmodo Media Group sister sites, and believe Onion Inc. will similarly benefit.”
“As we continue to work with Univision and Fusion Media Group, we are unionizing to establish transparency and open communication around the high-level decisions being made that affect Onion Inc.,” the statement continued. “A union will ensure that Onion Inc. remains a place that attracts and retains talented people, upholds opportunities for professional growth, and continues to be the most widely read, most lucrative, and most respected media company that has ever existed in the history of the written word.”