Press Room

Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Monday January 29, 2024

WGA East Authorizes ULP Strike at Onion Inc.

NEW YORK and CHICAGO (January 29, 2024) – The Writers Guild of America East authorized an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike at Onion, Inc. if parent company G/O Media refuses to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement before their current contract expires on January 31, 2024. 

The Onion Union approved a ULP strike with 97% voting yes. The WGAE’s Online Media Council members unanimously approved the ULP strike.

The Onion Union said, “We do not take the decision to go on an open-ended ULP strike lightly, but we have to take a stand for what is just. Our demands are reasonable and well within the budget of G/O Media and its private equity owners Great Hill Partners, who made an estimated $44 million in revenue in 2023. Management has the ability to reach a fair agreement with our union before our current contract expires that allows us to afford to live in the cities where we work and provides us with basic assurances for job security.”

The Onion Union represents the creative staff at The Onion, The A.V. Club, Deadspin, and The Takeout, with Guild members based in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. The unit is fighting for pay parity with their colleagues in the WGAE-represented GMG Union, which is also owned by G/O Media. In addition, The Onion Union is seeking a contract that includes a fair successorship agreement to protect their contract in the event of a sale, improved severance to address frequent company layoffs, and basic protections around Artificial Intelligence. 

The Guild filed ULP charges against G/O Media for violating the National Labor Relations Act by “bargaining in bad faith when the Employer engaged in threatening and intimidating behavior, made threats to cancel agreed upon release time for bargaining committee members, unilaterally canceled previously agreed upon in-person negotiations with the Union, and failed to proffer management representatives with the authority to reach an agreement.”

Turmoil and mismanagement have been the hallmarks of G/O Media since the company was founded in 2019 by private equity firm Great Hill Partners. The company has a long history of bad labor practices that has prompted the union to file numerous grievances and ULPs, as well as a strike by the GMG Union in 2022. Management has repeatedly stripped brands of their long-standing identities to the dismay of their dedicated readers. There has been constant turnover among its leadership and mass editorial resignations at numerous verticals in protest of the dictates made by G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller. Further, G/O Media shuttered two beloved politics-focused brands, Jezebel in 2023 and Splinter in 2019, saying the sites did not align with the company’s ever-changing business model.

If a ULP strike is called by the union on January 31, there are planned pickets and rallies in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City that would begin on Thursday, February 1. Any Guild member who crosses the picket line could face disciplinary action from the Guild, and non-Guild members who cross the picket line may be deemed ineligible for future Guild membership. 

Sara David, WGAE Vice President of Online Media, said, “Guild members have shown that they are not afraid to strike for what they deserve. If a ULP strike is called on January 31, we march forward knowing the entire Guild membership stands in solidarity with The Onion Union as they fight to win a fair contract from G/O Media.”

The Writers Guild of America East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing more than 7,500 members working in film, television, news, podcasts, and online 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


Back to top