The majority of employees at the publications Pitchfork and Ars Technica have voted to authorize union membership and join the NewsGuild of New York. Condé Nast owns both publications, and a spokesperson from the media company said that management would evaluate the demands for union recognition.
Concerns that prompted editorial workers at the publications to unionize included job security, layoff procedures, and fair cost of living raises. They also want to pursue policies that would expand diversity in their workplaces. At Pitchfork, staff members expressed a desire to evaluate the pay received by their subcontracted colleagues who work for an outside staffing agency. The vote at Ars Technica marked the first time that an entirely remote staff chose to form a union.
The senior editor at Pitchfork said that unionization could open a path to sustainable employment for the staff. The features editor at Ars Technica expressed excitement to create a work environment focused on long-term goals. The NewsGuild of New York acts on behalf of almost 3,000 people employed by major news organizations like the New York Times, the Nation, PC Magazine, and Thomson Reuters.
When union representatives or members need to negotiate contracts with management or settle disputes, legal advice often plays a role. An attorney who has experience in these matters could provide a union with representation during the development of collective bargaining agreements. Legal advice could aid union negotiators who must navigate complex decisions about compensation, benefits, or disciplinary procedures. As both sides discuss their goals, an attorney could suggest strategies that could strengthen the union's position.
Source: Variety, "Staffers at Condé Nast's Pitchfork, Ars Technica Unionize With NewsGuild of New York", Todd Spangler, March 29, 2019