Thrillist Staff Vote to Unionize

Writers Guild of America, East, picks up another publication

Thrillist’s editorial, video and distribution staff have decided to unionize, choosing to be represented by Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The decision continues a pattern of recent unionization efforts among digital organizations.

It comes at the heels of a round of layoffs at the organization last week that affected more than 20 staff members.

“Thrillist’s editorial staff is part of a movement of digital writers, editors, producers, and others, who want to negotiate contracts with enforceable terms and conditions, contracts that will ensure that digital media are a place to do independent work and build sustainable careers,” said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson in a statement.

WGAE represents a number of digital orgs who are part of that movement, including Vice, Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion, The Root, ThinkProgress and Salon. Just last month, the WGAE-represented editorial staff of Huffington Post ratified their first union contract with management.

In a statement released by Thrillist’s unionizing committee, the decision to form a union was described as “our declaration of a commitment to fostering positive, progressive change that will help Thrillist become a more stable, diverse, and inspiring workplace into the future.” The staff reemphasized the focus on hiring diverse staff as one of its listed objectives. Other reasons listed for the effort included maintaing a strong wall between editorial and branded/native advertising content, advocating for a benefits package that include cost-of-living raises and “reasonable severance packages,” and a clarification and codification of performance metrics.

Thrillist is part of Group Nine Media, a recently-formed partnership among a number of outlets that include The Dodo and NowThis Media.