Editorial employees at DNAinfo and Gothamist agreed to unionize Wednesday, in spite of threats from management that such a move could force the organization to shut its doors.
A majority of the 26-person staff signed union cards, authorizing the Writers Guild of America East (WGA-East) to represent the editorial employees of the two publications.
DNAinfo purchased Gothamist in March.
“In light of our recent merger, we think that this is the moment to determine fair policies regarding compensation, benefits, termination, severance, and editorial standards,” the union organizing committee said in a statement Wednesday.
The move by staff to join the WGA-East comes a month after DNAinfo purchased Gothamist. The purchase came immediately after DNAinfo cut a fourth of its editorial staff, reports The New York Times.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio voiced his support of the decision, urging management to move forward with a vote.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 12, 2017
When right-leaning billionaire and DNAinfo owner Joe Ricketts purchased Gothamist last month, many were surprised at the move, according to Jezebel. Gothamist (and its sister publication, Chicagoist) deleted five archived stories that mentioned Joe Ricketts, which raised questions about editorial independence at the outlet.
Editors at Gothamist said that they decided to take down previous coverage of their new boss, but not at the request of Ricketts or anyone else. (RELATED: The Huffington Post Unionizes)
The employees must wait to see if management recognizes the union voluntarily or if the employees will be forced to take a vote to compel management to recognize WGA-East as their contractual representatives.
“At this point, DNAinfo is considering its options, but whatever the company decides to do, it will be in accord with both the letter and spirit of the National Labor Relations Act,” Sarah Rothman, spokesperson for the company, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
The effort to unionize comes after numerous other digital publications joined unions in the Big Apple. Employees at Gizmodo, The Intercept, Vice, and The Huffington Post have all unionized in recent years as the digital media landscape continues to evolve and transform at a breathtaking rate.
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