Fusion Editorial Looks to Unionize
Execs send memo to discourage employees from joining Writers Guild of America, East.
This move would affect only digital editorial employees at Fusion, a Univision digital media site which brands itself as an inclusive and diverse workplace. Other staffs within the Fusion Media Group, a network of digital brands which includes The Onion and TheRoot.com, are not involved.
“Fusion has produced an impressive body of work about how the right to organize is critical for American workers. It’s time we practice what we preach,” the organizing committee said in a statement.
In a memo to staff sent at the end of the day Wednesday, Fusion COO Boris Gartner and CCO Daniel Eilemberg wrote that Guild representation “would not be beneficial to you or Fusion.”
“As an organization rooted in journalism, we believe in democratic choice made by a well-informed electorate…We’ll be sharing information directly with you and encouraging you to investigate and ask questions so that you have a complete picture on what Guild representation would mean,” Gartner and Eilemberg wrote in the memo.
While editorial for Fusion is based in New York, Fusion headquarters are in Miami, Florida, where preparation for the incoming Hurricane Matthew has brought business to a halt.
The memo states that Gartner and Eilemberg will visit the editorial office in person once the hurricane passes.
Should Fusion staff successfully unionize, they will remain distinct from fellow Fusion Media Group employees in the Gizmodo Media Group — known as Gawker Media until its acquisition by Univision in August.
Univision continues to recognize the union membership of Gawker Media staff, who unionized last summer. Huffington Post, Salon, ThinkProgress and Vice are all also unionized under the Digital Writers Union, a recently launched division of WGAE.
A spokesperson for the Guild said that they expect Fusion to recognize the union once they officially petition to unionize, as has been the case with the aformentioned publications.
However, should management challenge the union, the National Labor Relations Board will hold an official and binding vote.
This was the path taken in August when Law360 staff petitioned to unionize with The NewsGuild of New York. Employees had mandatory “captive audience meetings,” in which they were discouraged from unionizing. Despite this, Law360 staff voted 109 to 9 to unionize.