Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape Magazine & PeopleTV Unionize with The NewsGuild of New York
For Immediate Release | December 3, 2020
Contact: Josh Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 484-269-0158
Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape Magazine & PeopleTV Unionize
with The NewsGuild of New York
The four iconic brands request voluntary recognition from Meredith Corp. and seek to join PEOPLE as one bargaining unit
New York — Staffers at four renowned media brands — Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape Magazine and PeopleTV — announced today that they have formed a union with The NewsGuild of New York. Joining their Guild-represented colleagues at PEOPLE, 90% of eligible staff across all four publications have requested voluntary recognition as one bargaining unit from Meredith Corporation management.
Coming together as one bargaining unit, workers at Meredith intend to address issues that affect all of the publications, including job security, fair wage increases, affordable and equal access to benefits, a demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion, and transparent editorial standards.
The Meredith Union joins a number of successful organizing efforts at publications across the nation such as BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times in demanding a voice in their newsroom. Along with the unpredictable impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the vulnerable position in which it places essential media workers, editorial workers deserve a seat at the table to ensure a fairer and safe workplace for all.
"As a lifelong reader of Entertainment Weekly and staff member who's seen us weather immense changes including a cross-country move and going monthly, I knew innately that the pandemic was a clarion call that we all need a seat at the table to help ensure the continued success of the brand for years to come,” said Maureen Lenker, Entertainment Weekly Digital Writer. “I come from a long line of union members, which means I've witnessed firsthand how organizing and standing in solidarity can make a workplace a more fair, equitable, and fulfilling environment whether it's shoring up protections or simply giving workers greater agency. When we realized other brands were feeling the same, we couldn't think of anything better than coming together to form a united Meredith union that would allow us all to stand together. To quote a great musical about unions, Newsies, ‘Now is the time to seize the day...one for all and all for one.’"
“For me, forming a union with the NewsGuild is about preserving my career and ensuring that I can continue to do a job that I love,” said Riley Wofford, Assistant Food Editor at Martha Stewart Living. “I think we all enjoy the work that we do — we just want to be fairly compensated for that work and given the resources we need to uphold the standards that we have for our publication.”
"The Shape staff organized to ensure that our brand practices its own message of wellness," said David Baratta, Shape Photo/Bookings Editor. "Because we love this brand and are proud of the beautiful product we produce, we want to maintain the integrity of what comes from us as being sincere and informed for our audience as well as ourselves. We also felt that there was a gap between the Meredith brands, and we want to bridge those divides to pool our resources to support each other. This has provided an opportunity to reach out to our colleagues across the company and create an environment for us all to feel more secure in using our collective voice."
“My coworkers and I organized because we recognize we deserve the same benefits and protections as our colleagues at PEOPLE print and digital,” said Riley Fields, a Producer at People TV. “We're especially thrilled to be joining our peers at Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, and Shape in an historic union that will make Meredith a better company for everyone. We’ve always taken great pride in our work, but building a collective voice in the workplace gives us a seat at the table — the benefits of which give us more reason to invest in Meredith and in turn, ourselves.”
“Today, the editorial workers at four influential media outlets announced they are joining their unionized colleagues at PEOPLE in forming a union with the New York Guild, said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “Our members, standing together, continue to demonstrate that a unionized workplace in the media is now an industry expectation. I’m proud to welcome the editorial workers of Meredith into our union. I look forward to a swift voluntary recognition so that we can build on and broaden the contract that has covered PEOPLE's workers since the publication's founding.”
The combined statement from Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape Magazine and People TV is below:
We stand together as proud employees of Meredith brands Entertainment Weekly, PeopleTV, Shape, and Martha Stewart Living in a historic move to request voluntary recognition of us joining our union colleagues at PEOPLE as one bargaining unit. Over the last four decades, we’ve collectively provided critical analysis and brought fresh perspectives to the worlds of pop culture, fitness, and lifestyle reporting. We love our publications because of their unique ability to provide unparalleled connections and exclusives from experts in our fields. We are proud of the opportunity to offer unmatched access, advice, and inspiration to our readers. We, the combined staffs of these publications, want to ensure the stellar work and continued success of these prestigious brands for years to come, while honoring and valuing the contributions of all employees equally. We feel the best way to do this is to organize with the NewsGuild of New York.
We are concerned about issues that affect all of our publications. Across the board, we are challenged by issues that place undue stress on us and challenge employment equity on our teams. Too many of our most basic needs like cost-of-living increases and affordable benefits come with daunting requirements contingent on practices like counter-offers and invasive wellness checklists. For too long, we have worked without adequate benefits or an appropriate work-life balance, and without guaranteed annual wage increases, compensation for overtime, wage transparency, adequate practices to ensure diversity and inclusion, sufficient editorial standards, and space to have our voices heard in the newsroom.
With the unpredictable impact of the coronavirus pandemic—a destabilizing force in an already turbulent industry—we feel even more heavily the weight of our vulnerable position and lack of avenues to advocate for ourselves. We are all invested in our jobs and the stories we help to tell, but we require a seat at the table to ensure a fairer workplace for all. We are committed to making our positions sustainable at our separate publications, and this is why we are following in the footsteps of our peers at outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times and more to unionize with the NewsGuild as one united unit, including PEOPLE, PeopleTV, EW, Martha Stewart Living, and Shape.
We ask Meredith Corporation to recognize our union, and we look forward to joining in an amicable collective-bargaining process alongside our colleagues at PEOPLE in one collective Meredith union.
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 4,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause for all media professionals.
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