EXCLUSIVE: IATSE has launched a campaign to unionize the production and post-production workers at The Young Turks, the left-leaning online news outlet that produces a variety of programs, including its flagship talk show, The Young Turks.
The company was founded in 2002 by chief on-camera personality Cenk Uygur, who is running for the House seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill.
The website’s crew members announced their decision to unionize in a statement posted today on social media. “We’re proud to work behind the scenes at TYT to create online content that’s bold, entertaining, and unapologetically progressive,” they said in a statement. “There is no other news and talk network quite like TYT, and the perspective our network brings to its political coverage is resolutely pro-justice and pro-worker. We’re proud of our content, and we’re proud, too, to put into practice in our workplace the values that our work helps bring to the screen every day. In our decision to go union, we join the wave of recent organizing in digital media, and we stand in solidarity with the renaissance of labor activism we see now in workplaces of all kinds throughout the country.”
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Their statement was accompanied by a request to management that TYT officially recognize its employees’ union on the basis of a majority of the workers having signed union cards seeking representation by IATSE. The organizing workers consist of artists and technicians working in motion picture crafts traditionally represented by IATSE, including video editors, technical directors, graphics artists, and other production personnel. The IATSE locals involved in the campaign are Editors Guild Local 700, which is spearheading the drive, and Cinematographers Guild Local 600, Art Directors Guild Local 800, and Sound Local 695. IATSE says it “looks forward to management’s response and to entering into negotiations for a first contract.”
The company describes itself as “the largest online news and talk network for the connected generation.” Its YouTube channel has more than 4.6 million subscribers, and in 2017 completed a round of $20 million in equity funding, led by 3L Capital, with Greycroft, e.ventures, and WndrCo, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s venture firm, also investing.
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