Sources inside Vice Media announced Friday its writing staff has voted to unionize, becoming the latest in a growing trend among digital media companies.
According to the Wall Street Journal the writers voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East. Attorneys for Vice have reportedly already responded to the vote saying the company is prepared to recognize. Vice has been plagued with reports of ill-treatment and low wages for employees.
The accusations have even prompted a feud between Gawker Media and Vice. This despite Vice giving generally positive coverage of the “living wage” movement. The movement, mostly among retail and restaurants, seeks to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour. The decision by Vice writers follows other media companies also looking to organize.
Employees at Salon Media Group, Gawker and the Guardian have all voted to unionize recently. When Salon employees voted, it took management several weeks amid significant media pressure to recognize the vote. This also despite Salon’s consistent praise of the right to organize.
The growing trend of media outlets unionizing is a big shift for the industry. In the past, employees at media companies rarely joined unions. Politico labor reporter Mike Elk has been supportive of the new movement, so much so that he has even tried to unionize his own outlet.
The vote, however, may only account for a small percentage of Vice staff. According to The Wall Street Journal, writers account for less than 10% of all 700 U.S. employees.
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