GAWKER’S UNION PLAY: Gawker Media is taking a page from an old media playbook in its pursuit to unionize with the Writers Guild in New York. If accepted, this would make Gawker the first major digital media company to organize. Gawker senior editor Hamilton Nolan broke the news of the plans in a story Thursday entitled: “Why We’ve Decided to Organize.”
Nolan told WWD that Gawker editorial director Tommy Craggs and editor Max Read suggested he write the item after staffers “spoke to an organizer a few weeks ago” to gauge interest. Based on a meeting on Wednesday night, Nolan said there “is a lot of interest among people in collective bargaining and in really basic issues of fairness at work and in the pay structure. Generally people are happy here, which is a great time to unionize.”
A spokesman for the Writers Guild did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment on the process of unionization.
Although Gawker is in the early stages, Nolan explained why a union makes sense. “Though our company is relatively well-run, pays relatively competitive salaries, and treats its employees relatively well, there are still certain issues that many employees would like to see addressed,” he wrote. “We would like to ensure everyone receives a salary that is fair for their time at the company and the work they do. We would like to ensure that things like pay and raises are set in a fair, transparent and unbiased way. We would like to have some basic mechanism for giving employees a voice in the decisions that affect all of us here.”
He added that structure of the union, including who will join or what the goals may be, are still up in the air. “Nobody is seeking to hurt this company, or plunder it for all it’s worth, or find a way to attack the people that run it. We’re just trying to make it a bit more functional, and a bit more fair. The online media industry makes real money. It’s now possible to find a career in this industry, rather than just a fleeting job. An organized work force is part of growing up,” Nolan concluded.