Global Business News Outlet Quartz Becomes Latest Media Company to Unionize
For Immediate Release: April 15, 2019
Contact: Josh Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org | (484) 269-0158
New York — Editorial staff of Quartz, the news outlet formerly owned by Atlantic Media, announced this morning that an overwhelming majority of eligible staff have signed on to join the NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003. Founded in 2012, Quartz covers the new global economy, including tech, geopolitics, work, and culture. The publication was purchased by Japanese media company Uzabase in July 2018 and is valued at between $75 million and $110 million.
As unionization is increasingly the norm in the media industry, Quartz staff have requested voluntary recognition from management in order to swiftly begin the bargaining process. The union’s mission statement cited a desire to strengthen existing benefits and to improve such issues as pay equity, diversity, and job security through collective bargaining.
The site began with a handful of employees and now has a staff of over 230 people across five continents. In its 2018 statement, Uzabase stated that it purchased Quartz because of its global reach, continued growth, bold and creative reporting, and mobile-friendly platform. The staff that delivered that growth now seek to have a seat at the table in discussions about the future of the company in order to preserve and foster quality journalism.
“We love Quartz, and we love working here,” said Annalisa Merelli, Geopolitics Reporter. “For us, organizing is a way to double down on our commitment to the publication and the continued pursuit of its excellence. We are excited about the future of Quartz, and we want to make sure we are a part of it.”
“The spirit of collaboration and innovation at Quartz has been palatable since the beginning. It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be part of this newsroom of talented, dedicated journalists,” said Zoë Schlanger, Environment Reporter. “As the company grows, forming a union is the next step in that collaboration, to ensure a robust and responsive workplace for years to come.”
“The wave of organizing across our industry is inspiring,” said Grant Glickson, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “We are excited to welcome the staff of Quartz into our union at such a pivotal moment for our movement and for journalism.”
The full mission statement is below:
Right now, the world needs a publication like Quartz. As nations threaten to turn inward, our reporting asserts that the world is better when it is open. As technology races forward, we show how it can do so without harming the way humans work, play, and interact. Our multilingual and multinational staff does all of this with a penchant for the creative and the quirky, and a respect for our readers.
That is why we have decided to form a union: to strengthen the things we love about Quartz, and create a clear process for improving it. We are joining the NewsGuild of New York, which represents media stalwarts like The New York Times and Reuters, and younger publications like The Daily Beast and BuzzFeed News.
When Quartz launched in 2012, it was a scrappy startup with just a handful of employees. It is now a company of more than 230 people spanning five continents, valued between $75 million and $110 million. We believe it is time for the talented newsroom that delivered this growth to have a seat at the table in discussions about the future of the company’s internal structures and practices.
A central part of Quartz’s identity is our writer-centered newsroom. Even while enjoying this creative freedom, our reporters, video producers, deputy editors, and growth editors need clearly defined protections—of salaries, benefits, and employee expectations—as much as workers assembling cars or teaching children. These protections are more necessary now than ever, given the recent histories of both our publication and our industry.
In order to retain the talent that makes our newsroom special—and attract new, diverse talent that will bring our work to the next level—we need to know that Quartz will be a place where we can grow in our careers, following a clear and bold editorial vision. A place where we receive fair pay and annual cost of living raises, and where our newsroom includes a far greater proportion of people of color and people from working class backgrounds. We believe the best method of ensuring that future is by bargaining collectively.
These priorities become even more important in light of Quartz’s sale from Atlantic Media to Uzabase in July 2018. Our new owners at Uzabase are collegial, seem committed to our core goals, and share our dynamic, global ethos. However, their plans for Quartz’s editorial operation remain unclear, and with layoffs taking place in droves across the industry, our future feels uncertain. As writers who focus on the global economy and are excited by change, we have nothing but optimism about our relationship with Uzabase, and we also understand that the purchase of one company by another can lead to cultural and structural changes.
In short, we believe a union is the best way to make sure Quartz remains Quartz-y. We hope that the leadership recognizes this and, in turn, our union. Only then can we begin the process of finding a contract befitting the quality and ambition of our publication.
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 3,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, The Daily Beast and Mashable.
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