Fusion Editorial Staff Chooses Union Representation

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By Michael Rose and Tyrone Richardson

Nov. 14 — Digital journalists at Fusion Media Group chose the Writers Guild of America East as their collective bargaining representative.

More than 90 percent of the 70 staffers, including reporters and editors, approved WGAE representation during an online representation election approved by Fusion management, the union said Nov. 11.

The workers already had signed union authorization cards, but Fusion management previously agreed to honor the results of an online election rather than recognize the union via a card-check process. The parties announced the election agreement Nov. 4.

Fusion, which is owned by Univision Holdings Inc., is the latest digital newsroom to organize with the WGAE in recent years. The union already represents several hundred digital journalists at Salon Media, Huffington Post and ThinkProgress.

When Univision purchased Gawker Media, now known as Gizmodo Media Group, earlier this year, it also agreed to honor the WGAE’s contract covering workers there.

Bargaining Before End of Year

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGAE, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 14 that he hopes collective bargaining talks will begin before the end of the year. The union will soon begin hearing from the workers about their top concerns for the bargaining process, he said.

He also emphasized that the workers in essence had voted twice for the union, first by signing authorization cards and then in the online election.

“There was an overwhelming number of cards signed and we thought that was sufficient,” but the union is still pleased with the result of the vote, Peterson said.

TheRoot.com Request Pending

A Fusion spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment on the results of the election Nov. 14. Fusion is based in Miami, but most of the staffers in the bargaining unit are based in New York, Peterson said.

Univision also owns TheRoot.com, where editorial staff also are looking to organize with the WGAE and where all workers in the proposed bargaining unit already have signed union authorization cards, Peterson said.

Those workers sent management a letter in October seeking voluntary recognition, but they haven’t yet received a response, Peterson said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Rose in Washington at mrose@bna.com; Tyrone Richardson in Washington at trichardson@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

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