Forbes Forms a Union! The Editorial Staffers at Forbes Unionize with The NewsGuild of New York
New York—Today, the editorial workers at Forbes announced their intention to unionize with The NewsGuild of New York with over 80% of eligible staffers signed on to the campaign. Forbes staffers are asking company management to respect their collective voice and recognize their union.
For over 100 years, Forbes has been an influential news source that identifies business trends and holds those with power and great wealth to account. Now, the reporters, editors, designers, videographers and social media editors who make Forbes great seek to ensure that the magazine remains a leading voice in the business industry with a voice for those who produce it.
The Forbes Union organized to secure the standards of a professional newsroom: a more inclusive and transparent workplace, job security, transparency, a collaborative professional environment that removes the top-down management structures, equity in pay and opportunity, and accountability.
The staffers organized during the pandemic and an increasingly precarious industry, joining thousands of courageous journalists and media professionals across the nation who have organized their newsrooms and workplaces, including Insider, The Daily News, The Record, and the New York Times’ tech workers.
“This is largely about strengthening a greater sense of balance within the newsroom,” said Matt Kang, Video Producer at Forbes. “The more balanced we are as a unit, the stronger we can perform in an increasingly competitive and crowded media landscape and ensure our successful track record.”
"We’re organizing to promote greater diversity in our newsroom, to gain more of a voice in editorial decisions, and advocate for a more supportive work environment where there are clear pathways for promotion,” said Senior Media Editor Dawn Chmielewski.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the editorial workers of Forbes into our ranks,” said Susan DeCarava, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “We call on the company to voluntarily recognize the Forbes Union so that we may swiftly get to the table and begin bargaining a contract that will strengthen the publication and ensure that readers across the globe have access to the incredible and necessary journalism the workers of Forbes produce for the next century.”
The Forbes Union Mission Statement:
Roughly a century ago, B.C. Forbes, who founded Forbes Magazine just before the 1918 pandemic, wrote: “It is when things go hardest, when life becomes most trying, that there is the greatest need for having a fixed goal.”
In 2021, we, the journalists at Forbes, find ourselves at another inflection point. We are proud of our role in covering entrepreneurs, systematically tracking wealth in the deepest corners of the world and investigating the most powerful people in our society. Yet we recognize that in order to tell these stories, we must also look critically at our home, which we believe should and can do better for its employees. That is why we have decided to organize with the NewsGuild of New York, joining our peers such as Fortune Magazine, Reuters and The New Yorker.
Forbes has an immensely talented staff of reporters, editors, designers, videographers and social media editors who work around the clock to make our newsroom a leading business voice. We want our publication to outlive us, as it has past generations of incredible journalists who covered trailblazers. This goal requires us to take action, especially at a time when journalism is struggling across the country.
Many of us have no job security, receive no overtime pay and our requests for raises largely go unheard. Job requirements tend to change without warning, and salaries often vary between people who hold the same position. We are also being left out of major editorial decisions. We want a clearer distinction between editorial and business activities, with mechanisms to hold management and ourselves accountable for upholding high journalistic standards.
Our current top-down structure restricts our ability to be inclusive and allows exploitative labor practices. We want a better balance of power and, most importantly, we want our passion for journalism to drive us instead of the fear of losing our jobs. The unhealthy work culture takes labor for granted, shows a clear lack of interest in retaining talent—from ambitious, entry-level journalists to more experienced veterans—and perpetuates a lack of diversity in the newsroom.
While management celebrates its actions toward creating a more diverse workplace, nearly a dozen people of color have left the editorial staff since 2017. By unionizing, we want to address diversity within our newsroom without fear of retaliation. Forbes needs a measurable action plan to help improve newsroom diversity for all position levels and a committee that holds management accountable.
We know a union is the best way for our newsroom to build its voice and address all these issues and more. We have seen how other newsrooms that have recently unionized have won pay increases, job security, diversity improvements and strengthened editorial standards. Everything we are demanding is already in line with Forbes’ values: integrity, innovation and respect. The real risk to Forbes would be failing to evolve and meet the needs of its workforce. We want to remain agile and competitive while producing needle-moving journalism, because we want to make Forbes the best it can be. A union will help bring our company into the future and provide a stable and secure workplace that more equitably rewards our hard work.
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, no exceptions, for all media professionals.
Share this story