Editorial Staff of Mashable, PC Magazine, Geek.com & AskMen Form Union, Join the NewsGuild of New York
For Immediate Release: November 29, 2018
Contact: Josh Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org | (484) 269-0158
New York––Editorial employees at PC Magazine, Mashable, Geek.com and AskMen have announced that an overwhelming majority of its staff have joined the NewsGuild of New York, the union that represents nearly 3,000 media professionals in the greater New York City area. The employees are requesting voluntary recognition from parent company Ziff Davis, which is owned by J2 Global, and will form one bargaining unit.
As of Thursday, 85% of eligible staffers—which include reporters, editors, social media strategists, artists, and video producers—have signed on to the effort. The editorial staff presented their request for recognition to Ziff Davis management Thursday morning.
Staffers cite issues like stagnant wages, at-will employment, protection from harassment, and the need for a voice in the newsroom as constant corporate re-strategizing leaves employees vulnerable. Ziff Davis purchased Mashable in December 2017 and oversaw its second round of layoffs in two years. Staffing levels are at historic lows for the site, leaving many employees overworked and eager for representation.
“We’re asking for protections that all workers deserve: job security, regular cost of living raises, equitable policies and pay, and a seat at the table for future editorial strategy discussions,” said Chloe Bryan, Culture Reporter at Mashable.
Members seek bargaining power over issues like proper staffing and equipment to produce their publications, especially as Ziff Davis purchases new properties each year. “We create a lot of value for this company. If management wants to acquire new companies, they also need to invest in their existing staff,” said PC Mag staffer Alice Newcome-Beill.
The announcement is the latest in a number of successful NewsGuild organizing drives in newsrooms across the country in 2018—including The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic and Mic.com—that are demanding a collective voice in their workplace.
“I’m proud to welcome the editorial workers of Ziff Davis to the NewsGuild of New York,” said Grant Glickson, Guild President. “Every media professional deserves a voice in their workplace. We call on management to quickly recognize the union so that we can work toward securing a strong collective bargaining agreement for this inspiring group of editorial and creative professionals.”
The full mission statement of the editorial unit is below:
As editorial staffers of Ziff Davis publications PC Magazine, Mashable, Geek.com, and AskMen, we are proud to represent a diverse array of publications. Each brings a distinct voice, passion, and expertise to coverage spanning tech, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, and everything in between. Together, our editorial teams have helped build well-respected outlets that can dissect internet culture, produce in-depth reviews, and report feature stories that drive the online conversation in a digital media industry undergoing tectonic shifts. Yet, despite these successes, there is reason for worry.
Like many of our peers in this industry, we have faced growing challenges that have left our publications decimated and demoralized by layoffs, stagnant wage growth, little job security, and an ongoing series of abrupt strategy changes from the corporate level. Vacant positions remain unfilled, and staffers are stuck using outdated equipment and tools, with empty promises of additional resources or improvements that never come. This places more work, pressure, and expectations to maintain growth on those who remain, with no additional compensation and less time to focus on creating quality work. Constant corporate acquisitions and re-strategizing bring a distinct lack of parity across brands, and many roles are nearly unrecognizable compared to their starting title and job descriptions. All of these problems have remained unanswered through official policy even as the company continues to grow and earn capital.
To that end, we have chosen to unionize with the NewsGuild of New York to protect our rights as workers and continue the tradition of excellence at our publications. The NewsGuild represents The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Consumer Reports, The Daily Beast, and other respected publications. We join a growing number of our peers in taking this step toward creating a newsroom environment that will help its workforce thrive both within our company and the broader digital media landscape.
We ask that Ziff Davis invest in editorial talent and provide the resources to build successful and meaningful careers that will help each publication reach its full potential, benefitting both the staff and company at large. We want Ziff Davis to be a place that supports creative independence and editorial rigor while ensuring equal protection and benefits across all brands under its umbrella. And, in order to preserve our integrity as respected and authoritative media outlets, we ask that Ziff Davis maintain a clear and effective separation between the editorial and commerce units of its business.
Our union consists of talented editors, writers, designers, artists, social media strategists, and video producers who have the ideas and creativity to lead our industry into its next chapter. We hope Ziff Davis management will work collaboratively with us at the bargaining table to invest in our work and our futures, and to recognize that the success of our publications rests on those who know it best. Though we represent separate editorial staffs, we are proud to stand together as one. We are confident that this collective action is a vital, necessary step to protect our future. We ask that Ziff Davis voluntarily recognize our union and respect our rights to organize.
About the NewsGuild of New York
The NewsGuild, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America is a labor union representing nearly 3,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, The New Republic and The Daily Beast.
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