The WGA East has scored another victory in its ongoing campaign to organize the editorial staffs of Internet news sites. On Wednesday, staffers at The Root, a daily news and analysis site focusing on the African-American experience, asked their bosses to recognize the guild voluntarily as their bargaining representative.
Their goals include an equitable salary structure, the choice between at least two competitive health plans, better newsroom communication and transparency and a clear process for advancement.
“This is not a declaration of war,” the staff’s organizing committee said in a statement. “We love The Root. It was the great James Baldwin who once said, ‘I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ We would like to consider this public statement the beginning of a continual dialogue in which we all work together to make the organization better. We believe through transparent practices, and continuous communication, we will create a harmonious and productive work environment for all.
“We have all signed union cards expressing our choice to form a union with the Writers Guild of America, East,” they said. “We expect that the company will respect that decision, recognize our union and take next steps towards collective bargaining. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that The Root is a just and equitable workplace.”
Durign the past year, the staffs of several other news sites have sought similar protection through representation by the guild, including Gawker, the Huffington Post, Salon and Vice Media.
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“Like the editorial employees who are unionizing with the WGAE, we love The Root,” said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. “We respect and cherish its unique voice and the people who create that voice through the stories they craft. We are pleased and proud to join with them to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that will address their real concerns and will enable them to build sustainable careers doing their important work.”
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