Here Are All The Media Companies Unionising In 2021

A five-year wave of labour organising across international media and tech companies is picking up speed.

School-age NYC newsboys, whose infamous 1899 strike changed Pulitzer and Hearst’s business models. (1908, Lewis Hine)

**NB: this post is now being actively updated on our Substack page.

Five years ago, Gawker Media became the first digital newsroom to unionise. Since then countless digital and legacy news outlets have followed, prompting two Canadian journalism professors to pen a recent article for The Conversation titled What’s behind the new push for unionization by journalists. It stated:

“By our count, since 2015, journalists have unionized at more than 80 digital and legacy media outlets, including at BuzzFeed, VICE Canada, Vox, Canadaland and 28 brands owned by the conglomerate Hearst Magazines.”

Around the same time, Axios lent their excellent dataviz to the story, illustrating the timeline of 30 media unions formed between 2017 and early 2019:

Tech companies, now so intertwined with their media counterparts, have not been far behind. Kickstarter was tech’s first team to organise, recording their successful vote for a union as recently as Feb 2020:

“The vote comes after a year and a half of internal organizing during which at least two lead union members, [Clarissa] Redwine and Taylor Moore, were fired and at least two other workers who helped organize the union drive left after what they described as a tense and, at times, intimidating environment fostered by the management. One other union organizer was laid off and took severance pay, according to five current and former employees at Kickstarter.”

In 2021, the trend shows no sign of slowing. Conditions for journalists and other workers have deteriorated over the last few decades, and sharply so during the pandemic. The last 12 months, in particular, have seen numerous collectives of workers — some in companies notorious for union-busting — launching successful votes to unionise.

Workers at Google’s parent company Alphabet were first up this year, surprising everyone with the announcement of their successful union vote.

This week, as a potentially-groundbreaking union vote by Amazon warehouse workers continues in Alabama, we are taking note of all the recent announcements of successful organising across media, to track how widespread the movement is becoming. We will add tech and media unions as they appear…!

Media and Tech Unions Formed So Far in 2021

  1. Alphabet (parent company of Google) — Jan 4, 2021
  2. New York Daily News — Feb 5, 2021
  3. Daily Kos — Feb 8, 2021
  4. The Record Guild (3 NJ Gannett-owned newsrooms) — Feb 10, 2021
  5. Medium — Feb 11, 2021
  6. Desert Sun — Feb 17, 2021
  7. HuffPost Canada — Feb 23, 2021 (*Update*: HuffPost Canada was shutdown Mar 9, in massive layoffs made after its recent acquisition by BuzzFeed.)
  8. Southern California News Group (includes numerous titles) — Feb 24, 2021
  9. Austin American-Statesman — Feb 24, 2021
  10. Mobilize — Mar 15, 2021

Let us know any we’re missing and we’ll add them!

Writer, covering media, politics, and labor. Editor of Chompsky. Media reform advocate. UK/US.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store