Hearst Magazines’ digital and print staff has voted overwhelmingly – 241 to 83 – to unionize with the WGA East in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board. The new bargaining unit includes some 500 members from Hearst Magazine’s editorial, video, design, photo, and social staffs across 28 digital and print brands, including Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, O (The Oprah Magazine), Town & Country, Car and Driver, Road & Track, Autoweek, Popular Mechanics, ELLE, ELLE Decor, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, Best Products, Bicycling, Country Living, Delish, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, Prevention, Runner’s World, The Pioneer Woman, Veranda, Woman’s Day, and Women’s Health.
The staffers announced their intention to join the guild last November, but management refused to recognize the union voluntarily and waged a protracted legal battle at the NLRB in an attempt to delay the election and divide the bargaining unit into six separate groups. In June, the NLRB dismissed all of Hearst management’s arguments and directed an election for a single bargaining unit across all 28 magazines.
“Hearst is not just about a storied brand; it’s about the hard work of the people who are involved with writing, editing, and producing the stories that educate and inspire and delight readers and viewers,” said Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director. “These employees have voted overwhelmingly to join with the WGA East to bargain collectively over the terms and conditions of their employment, and to make their voices heard in the workplace to ensure that their needs and interests and priorities are addressed. We welcome them to our community of creative professionals, and we look forward to working together to demonstrate, again, that collective bargaining works.”
A spokesperson for Heart Magazines said, “We’ve been listening to our editorial teams’ aspirations for the company and will continue to address and act on them. Now, it’s time to forge a path forward together, to maintain Hearst Magazines’ focus on innovation and long tradition of creating highly informative, engaging content. We remain committed to providing an equitable work environment that embraces diversity, transparency, fair compensation and best-in-class editorial standards.”
The Hearst Magazines Organizing Committee tweeted: “We’re thrilled to see so many months of hard work pay off and are eager to start bargaining our first union contract. Hundreds of us across 28 brands and several states voted for a fairer and more transparent workplace, and we can’t wait to bring this energy to the negotiating table. We are grateful for the support of our union siblings in the WGA East. We will join them to raise standards for all with solidarity across the industry.”
The guild now represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television, and news – broadcast and digital. In addition to Hearst Magazines, the union represents newsrooms at ABC News, CBS News, CBSN, Committee to Protect Journalists, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, HuffPost, The Intercept, Jewish Currents, MTV News, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM/CBS 2 News.
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