The wave of digital media unionization rolls onward, as the U.S. editorial, social, photo, copy, and video staff of 11 Future plc digital publications announced on Thursday that they have chosen to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East.
“Future plc believes that “we all row the boat”—that this company’s strength is built on the collective efforts of its workers,” organizers wrote on in their statement announcing their unionization efforts, posted to the WGAE website. (Splinter and all of Gizmodo Media Group is also represented by WGAE.)
“We believe that ideal is best upheld through a fair, collectively agreed-upon contract,” the group, which has dubbed itself the Future Union, continued. “We look forward to arriving at that contract through the same sort of teamwork that we devote every day to our verticals.”
According to the organizers, “a majority of the teams at GamesRadar+, Guitar Player, Guitar World, Laptop Mag, Live Science, Newsarama, PC Gamer, Space.com, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Tom’s Hardware, as well as their associated copy, social, photo, and video teams” have joined in the unionization process. The total bargaining unit will include over 70 employees.
This latest step to organize labor across the digital media industry comes just weeks after employees at BuzzFeed announced they were unionizing with the NewsGuild of New York, which also represents the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Daily Beast.
Among Future Union’s stated goals are increased transparency and accountability, fair compensation, and upholding editorial standards across Future plc’s sites.
Speaking with Splinter, Rafi Letzter, a member of the 15 person organizing committee who writes for Live Science, explained: “When Future plc acquired [digital publisher] Purch back in 2018, a lot of us saw it as an opportunity to establish a new dynamic with our new management.”
“In these turbulent times for media and journalism at large, establishing unions are crucial to establish your rights and to be fairly recognized as a group,” added TechRadar’s Kevin Lee, another member of the organizing committee.
I have reached out to Future plc’s management for comment on the unionization effort, and will update this post if they respond.
Ultimately, as the digital media landscape continues to endure brutal layoffs and wildly uneven industry standards, more and more employees at publications across the internet are reaching the inevitable conclusion that the best way to ensure their work is valued and protected is to unionize and unionize now.