NowThis, a number one producer of video information for cell use, stated Tuesday it has unionized with the Writers Guild of America East.
The mother or father firm, Ben Lerer’s Group 9 — which additionally owns websites like Thrillist, The Dodo and PopSugar — agreed to acknowledge the union because the bargaining agent for the 90-person editorial workers. That was after an awesome majority of staff on Monday handed in playing cards saying they wished to be represented by the union, in accordance with a union rep.
The fast outcome stands in sharp distinction to the contentious battles the Writers Guild needed to combat when it unionized Hearst magazines earlier this yr and when the NewsGuild of New York unionized BuzzFeed early final yr. Whereas BuzzFeed acknowledged the NewsGuild of New York in the summertime of 2019 after writers staged a one-day walkout, a contract isn’t imminent, sources stated.
Hearst misplaced a bid to forestall its staff from voting to unionize in February, however the publishing big has but to start contract negotiations. Vice, Vox Media and Huffington Publish are all working below collective bargaining agreements after administration voluntarily acknowledged the Writers Guild as their bargaining agent.
Among the many subjects on the union’s agenda at NowThis are pay and equity, but in addition close to the highest of the listing are variety considerations.
“Our workforce and management ought to replicate the corporate’s dedication to racial fairness, slightly than claiming variety via restricted illustration of Black and brown workers within the firm,” union organizers had said throughout their drive. “When individuals of coloration, and particularly Black individuals, are acknowledged as important to our work on the highest ranges, it is going to be mirrored within the high quality of the tales we inform.”
Group 9, like most media corporations, was compelled to make deep cuts to its workforce in April when it stated it was chopping 7 p.c of its then-700-person workforce throughout websites together with Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker, PopSugar and NowThis.
The corporate was most likely higher financed than most after touchdown a brand new $50 million spherical of funding from lead investor Discovery Inc. and German media big Axel Springer again in September, saying on the time it wished to make use of the funds for growth of commerce and “potential strategic acquisitions.”
Then the coronavirus stalled these plans and worn out promoting throughout all media.
Digital publishers have been below strain even earlier than the pandemic. Final yr, Group 9 reportedly held talks of a possible merger with BuzzFeed, one other one of many large 5 digital publishers, however negotiations broke down reportedly over quite a lot of questions together with who would run a mixed firm — Lerer or BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti.
BuzzFeed additionally was compelled to make deep cuts in the beginning of the pandemic. Throughout a current name with staffers, Peretti stated the corporate would break even this yr, in accordance with the Wall Road Journal, marking the primary time since 2014.
The fee cuts reportedly saved BuzzFeed $30 million this yr and have been in a position to offset the steep promoting declines.
There’s no phrase on when Group 9 will sit down with the union to start negotiations, however the firm already reached accords with staff at Thrillist and The Dodo again in 2018, pre-pandemic.