Podcast Content Creators At Crooked Media Unionize With WGA East
Podcast content creators at Crooked Media, complaining about the “degradation of our working conditions,” have unionized with the WGA East. According to the guild, an “overwhelming majority” of the podcast company’s 55 content creators have signed cards to unionize and are calling on management to voluntarily recognize the guild as their collective bargaining representative.
Founded in 2017 by former President Barack Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, Crooked Media produces podcasts including Pod Save America, What a Day, Hall of Shame and Lovett It or Leave It.
“As audiences and creative opportunities expand for podcast storytelling, the guild is proud to work with the storytellers to gain a voice on the job and to improve conditions in this vital sector,” said WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson.
In a letter delivered today to management, the company’s 55-member bargaining unit said they’re organizing because “Crooked has been increasingly unable to consistently attract and retain top industry talent due to less-than-competitive compensation, inadequate cost-of-living increases, and an unequal imposition of in-person work requirements and relocation costs. In short, we want to see Crooked become the equitable workplace it purports to be.”
Their letter also notes that “Internal discussions regarding our company’s approach to race, class, and broader inequalities on a staffing and programming level have been ongoing, but few signs have emerged from management that these conversations will lead to substantive action or meaningful change. Through collective bargaining, we can ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable coworkers come first.”
Areas of concern that they want to address at the bargaining table include “pay equity and transparency, severance and leave policies, and overtime/workload regulations for full-time staff; increased transparency on promotion requirements, role scope, and job ladders, and improved review processes; guarantees that company policies and benefits will apply to all employees equally, and prioritization of diversity in hiring, retention and advancement of employees of color, and transparency around how this is achieved.”
In addition to Crooked Media, the WGA East also represents workers at podcast production companies Gimlet Media, the iHeart Podcast Network, Parcast, Pineapple Street Studios and The Ringer. The guild represents 7,000 workers in film, television, news, podcasts and online media.