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…!

(Here is nwLabourPress.org’s impressive list of newsroom unions from 2009-’19)

Media and Tech Unions Formed So Far in 2021

  1. Alphabet (parent company of Google) — Jan 4, 2021

  2. New York Daily News — Feb 5, 2021

  3. Daily Kos — Feb 8, 2021

  4. The Record Guild (3 NJ Gannett-owned newsrooms) — Feb 10, 2021

  5. Medium — Feb 11, 2021

  6. Desert Sun — Feb 17, 2021

  7. HuffPost Canada — Feb 23, 2021 (*Update*: HuffPost Canada was shutdown Mar 9, in massive layoffs made after its recent acquisition by BuzzFeed.)

  8. Southern California News Group (includes numerous titles) — Feb 24, 2021

  9. Austin American-Statesman — Feb 24, 2021

  10. Washington State Newsguild (4 McClatchy papers in WA)—Feb 25, 2021

  11. Glitch—Mar 2nd, 2021

  12. Mobilize — Mar 15, 2021

  13. The Daily News—Mar 18, 2021

  14. Meredith Corp—Mar 25, 2021

  15. The State News Guild—Mar 31st, 2021

  16. Gimlet Media and The Ringer—Apr 7th, 2021

  17. NYT Tech Guild—Apr 13th, 2021

  18. Insider—Apr 19th, 2021

  19. NPR’s Digital Media Division—Apr 26th, 2021 (NPR voluntarily recognised the union within 48 hours)

  20. New York Daily News—Apr 30th, 2021

  21. The Appeal—May 10th, 2021

  22. Kansas City Star—May 10th, 2021

  23. Forbes—May 18th, 2021

  24. Atlantic DOT Guild (Digital producers from east coast Gannett outlets)—Jun 1st, 2021

  25. The Atlantic—Jun 7th, 2021

  26. MSNBC—Jun 17th, 2021

Let me know any that are missing and I’ll add them!