The Guardian US Will Unionize. Can We Call This a Trend Now?

The Guardian US Will Unionize. Can We Call This a Trend Now?

Staffers at the Guardian US unanimously voted yesterday to unionize with the News Media Guild, The Huffington Post reported. The vote is just the latest in a surge of recent union drives in the digital media world.

Guardian US management voluntarily recognized the union effort, therefore negating the need to go through the formal channels of the NLRB. “We are happy to voluntarily recognize the News Media Guild and look forward to working constructively, in best Guardian tradition, with the Guardian US editorial staff who have voted in favor of collective representation,” a Guardian US spokesperson said in a statement.

A similar agreement was struck between Gawker Media’s editorial staff and management a couple months ago, which was the first of a growing number of organizing drives in digital media in 2015. The progressive website Truthout was the first digital media outlet to unionize back in 2009.  

Earlier this month, Salon’s editorial staff unanimously voted to form a union and asked management to voluntarily recognize its vote—there is still with no word from management, and there’s growing discontent among Salon staffers and its union, Writers Guild of America, East (which also represents Gawker).

Guardian US staffers will join News Media Guild’s 2,000 other digital workers from The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and the Daily Beast.

Labor reporter Mike Elk, who’s been working to spark an organizing drive at his employer, Politico, has also reportedly been working with the News Media Guild. Politico has about 200 editorial staffers and is rapidly expanding its operations.

Yesterday at a union event in Washington, D.C., Elk asked Democratic presidential contender Senator Bernie Sanders if he thought that media owners, including Politico, should agree to card-check neutrality. Sanders answered affirmatively, saying, “I think all workers in whatever area—it’s not just the media—do have a right to form a union without harassment on the part of their employers.”

Other union-drive announcements are likely to crop up in the near future. The WGAE director, Lowell Peterson, has previously told me that a number of digital media outlets are in the organizing pipeline with the union.