• Majority of New Yorker, Fast Company workers indicate they want union
• Announcements reflect continued move toward unionization of professional sector workers
Staff members at the New Yorker magazine and another Manhattan-based publication announced June 6 that they’re unionizing.
Editorial employees of the New Yorker said an overwhelming majority of its staff have joined the NewsGuild of New York. They’re requesting voluntary recognition from Condé Nast, the media company that owns the magazine.
A majority of editorial and photo staff at Fast Company also announced they’ve joined the Writers Guild of America East. More than half of the 40-member staff at the monthly business magazine and website signed authorization cards and want the company to voluntarily recognize the union.
This card check method and pursuit of voluntary recognition from an employer is a process unions, especially the WGAE, have successfully used at other media outlets in recent months. The staffs join those at the Onion, Vox, and Slate that have unionized with the WGAE in a similar fashion.
The unionization of what are commonly considered white-collar workers, such as journalists, is part of a growing move by unions to organize traditionally nonunion professional and technical sectors. Overall, the U.S. unionization rate remained at a record low 10.7 percent in 2017, but union membership in those sectors grew by nearly 90,000 members, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These recent media industry announcements indicate this isn’t slowing in 2018.
Workers at the New Yorker and Fast Company seek to unionize out of concerns over job security, fair compensation, and benefits, the two unions said in an announcement letter.
The NewsGuild said New Yorker staff members “lack job security and, for the most part, receive no overtime pay.” Salaries vary widely among people who hold the same position, and many employees work for years as subcontracted staff, without health insurance and other benefits, they said.
The Writers Guild said it wants Fast Company to clarify policies on pay, benefits, performance reviews, and freelance compensation.
Neither the New Yorker nor Fast Company responded to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
(Updated to include additional reporting.)