Slate's Newly Unionized Writers & Editors Give OK To Strike - Outlet’s Editorial Staff Authorizes Walkout By Vote Of 52-To-1, Company’s Right-To-Work (For Less) Stance ‘Riles’ Its Employees
(NEW YORK CITY) - Writers and Editors at Slate have voted nearly unanimously to green-light a Strike, escalating tensions between the digital publication and its newly-Unionized Employees.
Slate’s Editorial Employees authorized the potential Strike by a vote of 52-to-1, according to a spokesman for the Writers Guild of America - East, and are now weighing when they may walk off the job. Along with stronger diversity policies and cost of living increases, the Union wants the company to back off its insistence on making Union Fees optional, the kind of Right-To-Work (for less) Policy loathed by Liberals and Organized Labor.
“We just feel that ‘it’s a total and absolute betrayal’ of Slate’s ‘most fundamental values,’” said Slate Writer Mark Joseph Stern, a Member of the Union’s Bargaining Committee.
In June, Republican President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch was part of a 5-4 majority that made the whole U.S. public Sector Right-To-Work, a ruling that has been roundly denounced on Slate’s site.
The Slate Union is part of a wave of organizing in digital media, fueled by industry upheaval and buoyed by media brands’ sensitivity to public shaming.
In recent years, Workers have Unionized at outlets including Gizmodo Media Group, HuffPost, Vice Media, The Guardian, The Daily Beast and The New Yorker.
But the recently Unionized digital media shops have yet to stage a full-fledged Strike.
Union Members at the Legal News Website Law360 authorized a Strike, but didn’t end up mounting one. They just reached a tentative deal, which includes a ban on quotas for how many articles Employees write and a requirement that the contract stay in effect even if the company is sold, according to a spokesman for their Union, the Communications Workers of America’s (CWA) NewsGuild.
Workers in a number of other industries have recently gotten results by Striking, including Charter School Teachers in Chicago, Marriott Workers in several cities, and thousands of Non-Union Google Employees around the world who staged a walkout over the company’s handling of sexual misconduct.
Voting to authorize a Strike sends a powerful signal of solidarity, said Temple University Labor Law Professor Brishen Rogers: “Workers ‘will only walk out if they trust one another to actually walk out, and to support one another during the Strike.’”
Some of Slate’s Freelance Contributors have already signaled their solidarity with the site’s Employees. In October, a group of Law Professors and other Legal Experts who’ve written for Slate released a statement urging the company to abandon its insistence on Right-To-Work - calling it “anathema to the values that drew us to Slate in the first place.”
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