Employees of Vox Media plan to go on strike from their instant messaging service, Slack, in a show of support for ongoing union negotiations with the company’s management, Business Insider reports.
Vox staff announced in November that they planned to unionize under the Writers Guild of America East and that discussions between the union and Vox management had been going on for months.
Negotiations are close to wrapping up as Vox management nears voluntarily recognizing a union of its staff, according to an email circulated to staff Wednesday. Management and the union’s organizing committee disagree who should be allowed into the union, however, BI reports.
Management wants to bar all employees who oversee other members of staff from joining the union. The organizing committee wants to include part of the editorial staff into the union, however.
To put pressure on management, the email suggested staff take part in “a Slack strike. Set yourself to away and mute your notifications for one hour, and change your status to include the :voxunion emoji. Given how much time we all spend in Slack, this is kind of like holding up a sign. Digital media!”
The unionization effort also includes luncheons, a video information session and a Twitter campaign where Vox employees tweet out reasons to join a union.
Vox Media’s campaign to unionize follows the successful unionization of two other newsrooms. The staff at DNAinfo and Gothamist, two online local news outlets, joined a union in late October. By early November, both sites were shut down for lacking profitability. The sites’ owner, Joe Ricketts, cited the decision to unionize as one of the obstacles to businesses making money.
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