Writers Guild Demands Vox Media Allow Union Merger for The Dodo and Thrillist

The Writers Guild of America East demands Vox Media allow employees at The Dodo and Thrillist to merge into the Vox Media Union. Vox Media refuses, insisting on separate contracts, prompting the WGA East to threaten "public next steps" if demands are not met.

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Nitish Verma
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Writers Guild Demands Vox Media Allow Union Merger for The Dodo and Thrillist

Writers Guild Demands Vox Media Allow Union Merger for The Dodo and Thrillist

The Writers Guild of America East (WGA East) has sent a letter to Vox Media, demanding that the company allow employees at The Dodo and Thrillist to merge into the Vox Media Union. This comes after Vox Media acquired Group Nine, the parent company of The Dodo and Thrillist, in December 2021.

Why this matters: The outcome of this union merger dispute has implications for the future of labor organizing in the digital media industry, and could set a precedent for other east, backs companies and unions. It also highlights the ongoing struggle for workers' rights and fair representation in the face of corporate consolidation and restructuring.

The WGA East council, including president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, wrote to Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff and president Pam Wasserstein, citing integrated operations and staff across the company. The workers at Vox Media, The Dodo, and Thrillist have "overwhelmingly expressed their wishes to bargain together for equal rights under one contract."

Despite this, Vox Media leadership is refusing to allow the merger, insisting on three separate units working under three separate contracts. The WGA East argues that this is inefficient, wasting time, energy, and resources, and disrespects the wishes of the workers.

In their letter, the WGA East council stated, "Not only does Vox Media's intransigence disrespect the wishes of your workers, it is also inefficient, forcing Vox Media bargaining unit members and the Guild to bargain and administer three separate contracts, wasting time, energy, and resources for all involved at a time of profound uncertainty and instability in digital media."

The Vox United Committee also released a statement, saying, "Instead, they've denied their employees the dignity of a single contract for WGAE-represented staff. Not only is this indicative of their lack of respect, it also complicates day-to-day operations for many teams."

Penske Media Corp, publisher of Variety, became Vox Media's largest single shareholder in 2023 after acquiring a minority stake in the company. The WGA East council has given Vox Media one week to respond to their demands, threatening to take "public next steps" if they do not comply.

The WGA East's demands come nearly two and a half years after Vox Media's acquisition of Group Nine in December 2021. As the conflict between the union and Vox Media leadership continues, the WGA East remains prepared to deploy resources to help the employees achieve their goals of equal rights and representation under a single contract.

Key Takeaways

  • WGA East demands Vox Media allow The Dodo and Thrillist to merge into Vox Media Union.
  • Vox Media refuses, insisting on 3 separate units with 3 separate contracts.
  • WGA East argues this is inefficient and disrespects workers' wishes for equal rights.
  • Vox Media has 1 week to respond, or WGA East will take "public next steps."
  • Outcome may set precedent for labor organizing in digital media industry.