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Here Are All The Media Companies Unionising In 2021: Live List
A five-year wave of labour organising across media and tech is picking up speed.
Five years ago, Gawker Media became the first digital newsroom to unionise. Since then countless digital and legacy news outlets have followed, prompting two Canadian journalism professors to pen a recent article for The Conversation titled What’s behind the new push for unionization by journalists. It stated:
“By our count, since 2015, journalists have unionized at more than 80 digital and legacy media outlets, including at BuzzFeed, VICE Canada, Vox, Canadaland and 28 brands owned by the conglomerate Hearst Magazines.”
Around the same time, Axios lent their excellent dataviz to the story, illustrating the timeline of 30 media unions formed between 2017 and early 2019:
Tech companies, now so intertwined with their media counterparts, have not been far behind. Kickstarter was tech’s first team to organise, recording their successful vote for a union as recently as Feb 2020:
“The vote comes after a year and a half of internal organizing during which at least two lead union members, [Clarissa] Redwine and Taylor Moore, were fired and at least two other workers who helped organize the union drive left after what they described as a tense and, at times, intimidating environment fostered by the management. One other union organizer was laid off and took severance pay, according to five current and former employees at Kickstarter.”
In 2021, the trend shows no sign of slowing. Conditions for journalists and other workers have deteriorated over the last few decades, and sharply so during the pandemic. The last 12 months, in particular, have seen numerous collectives of workers — some in companies notorious for union-busting — launching successful votes to unionise.
Workers at Google’s parent company Alphabet were first up this year, surprising everyone with the announcement of their successful union vote.
This week, as a potentially-groundbreaking union vote by Amazon warehouse workers continues in Alabama, I’m taking note of all the recent announcements of successful organising across media, to track how widespread the movement is becoming. I’ll add tech and media unions as they appear…!
Media and Tech Unions Formed So Far in 2021
NB: most of the below dates are when a first announcement was made, before ratification.
Alphabet (parent company of Google) — Jan 4, 2021
Loveland Reporter-Herald—Jan 27, 2021
New York Daily News — Feb 5, 2021
Daily Kos — Feb 8, 2021
The Record Guild (3 NJ Gannett-owned newsrooms) — Feb 10, 2021
Medium — Feb 11, 2021
Desert Sun — Feb 17, 2021
Southern California News Group (includes numerous titles) — Feb 24, 2021
Austin American-Statesman — Feb 24, 2021
Washington State Newsguild (4 McClatchy papers in WA)—Feb 25, 2021
Glitch—Mar 2nd, 2021
Mobilize — Mar 15, 2021
The Daily News—Mar 18, 2021
FT Specialist—Mar 19, 2021
Meredith Corp—Mar 25, 2021
The State News Guild—Mar 31st, 2021
Gimlet Media and The Ringer (the first Spotify podcast unions)—Apr 7th, 2021
NYT Tech Guild—Apr 13th, 2021
Insider—Apr 19th, 2021
NPR’s Digital Media Division (NPR voluntarily recognised the union within 48 hours)—Apr 26th, 2021
The Appeal—May 10th, 2021
Kansas City Star—May 10th, 2021
Jigsaw Freelancers Union (non-fiction production company)—May 12th, 2021
MinnPost Union—May 13th, 2021
Longview Newsguild—May 14th, 2021
Forbes—May 18th, 2021
Fast Company and Inc.—May 26th, 2021 (video/podcasting/events/social staff of Fast Company join its union, as do staff at sister publication Inc.)
Atlantic DOT Guild (digital producers from east-coast Gannett outlets)—Jun 1st, 2021
The Atlantic—Jun 7th, 2021
MSNBC—Jun 17th, 2021
Hudson Valley News Guild—Jul 14th, 2021
APP-MCJ Guild (3 more east-coast Gannett outlets)—Aug 19th, 2021
IHeartMedia—Dec 9th, 2021
Let me know any that are missing and I’ll add them!