Vice Media workers who produce video and television content unionized on Thursday, the latest win for organized labor in digital newsrooms.
Following a third-party card check, the company recognized the three unions that will now represent about 430 staffers and freelancers in contract negotiations: The Writers Guild of America, East (which represents Gizmodo Media Group’s digital editorial union); the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; and the Motion Picture Editors Guild.
Per The Wall Street Journal, which got the scoop:
Union officials said negotiations on a contract could begin as soon as the end of the year for the newly represented employees, who work on programs on the company’s Viceland cable channel, its shows for HBO and online video for its websites and Verizon Communications Inc.’s go90 mobile video app.
WGAE has pushed aggressively into digital newsrooms in recent years as companies have struggled to turn huge audiences into cash. Journalists at Gizmodo Media Group, HuffPost, The Guardian US, and others have successfully unionized, while staffers elsewhere, including Slate and DNAInfo-Gothamist, have encountered stiff resistance from nominally progressive management.
The unionization of Vice’s video operation—the well-heeled company’s bread and butter—comes after WGAE had already organized more than 70 text-side staffers in 2015 and after about 60 employees were laid off in June to ramp up video production.