Gimlet Media Unionizes with the Writers Guild of America, East
In a first for the podcasting industry, Gimlet Media’s employees today announced they have unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). A clear majority of the 83-member creative staff has signed union cards and called on management to voluntarily recognize the Guild as its collective bargaining representative.
Based in Brooklyn, Gimlet’s podcast network includes such popular shows as REPLY ALL, CRIMETOWN, THE CUT, THE NOD, HOMECOMING and EVERY LITTLE THING. Gimlet podcasts are downloaded over twelve million times per month by listeners from nearly 190 countries around the world.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “Podcasting is one of the most exciting new media platforms for storytelling and Gimlet is at the forefront of creating compelling content. We welcome the people in this field into our Guild, where we will work to ensure they are afforded rights and protections like those won by other content creators working in film, television, news and new media.”
In addition to Gimlet, the Guild represents digital media staffs at CBSN, Gizmodo Media Group, Vox Media, VICE, HuffPost, Refinery29, Onion Inc., Thrillist, The Dodo, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, Fast Company, and Future plc.
The Gimlet Media Organizing Committee issued the following statement explaining why they are organizing:
Gimlet Media is a podcasting pioneer. As one of the first companies to recognize the potential of on-demand audio, Gimlet is on the leading edge of a growing industry. And in keeping with Gimlet’s innovative ethos, we are proud to be the first podcast company to form a union.
We—the producers, engineers, hosts, editors, and reporters—are the people at Gimlet who make the podcasts. We come from public and commercial radio, print and digital media, the music industry, Hollywood, advertising, academia, and many other fields. We work hard to create some of the best audio in the world. Our editorial and branded teams have won numerous awards, our shows have been optioned for television and film, we have helped the company branch out into voice skills and advertising, and our listeners number in the millions. We love our work, and we’re deeply invested in Gimlet’s success.
As Spotify’s reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first season of StartUp. Our union is an expression of passion for what we do, and a proactive effort to work with management to shape the future of the company. It’s important for us to solidify the things that make Gimlet a great place to work, and to address whatever issues may arise.
Through collective bargaining, we will work toward a contract that includes, but is not limited to:
- Consistent and transparent job descriptions and salary bands
- Straightforward processes for advancement and promotion
- Clear and fair policies around contractor employment
- Concrete and ambitious diversity initiatives
- Equitable processes for protecting employees’ intellectual property
- Clear disciplinary, termination, and resignation policies
- Employee input in company decision-making
To address these issues and make Gimlet Media the best workplace possible, we have formed a union with the Writers Guild of America, East. In addition to their long history of standing up for writers and creative professionals, the WGAE’s more recent work organizing digital media workers makes them our best partner in navigating this rapidly changing sector. Together with management, we hope to establish a precedent for the podcasting world, and to negotiate a contract that protects workers, while maintaining Gimlet’s position as an industry leader. We are asking Gimlet Media to voluntarily recognize our union, and we are excited to begin the bargaining process.
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.