The 83-person staff of Gimlet Media, a podcasting startup acquired by music streaming service Spotify for $230 million in February, is actually unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).
Gimlet was founded in 2014 along with produces favorite podcasts including Reply All, StartUp, along with Crimetown.
“As Spotify’s reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is actually no longer the little, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first season of StartUp,” the Gimlet organizing committee wrote in a statement published Wednesday. “Our union is actually an expression of passion for what we do, along that has a proactive effort to work with management to shape the future of the company. of which’s important for us to solidify the things of which make Gimlet a great place to work, along with to address whatever issues may arise.”
Among the issues Gimlet’s union says of which plans to focus on are fair treatment of contractors, workplace diversity, employee intellectual property, along with transparency around pay, promotions, along with termination.
Employees, 75% of whom signed union cards in support of the organizing campaign, are asking management to voluntarily recognize their union, which they say will include content creation roles such as producers, engineers, reporters, along with hosts on both the branded along with editorial sides of the company. The union will not include managers or sales along with marketing staff.
In a wave of media labor organizing over the last year, companies including the brand-new Yorker along with brand-new York magazine voluntarily recognized employee unions, while some other efforts, such as the Los Angeles Times employees’ successful National Labor Relations Board election, have been more contentious. Gimlet is actually right now owned by a public tech company, though, along with union drives within the tech industry are much less common. Still, companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, along with Salesforce have seen increasing employee activism over political issues along with working conditions.
A spokesperson for Gimlet said the company has “received a formal notice via the WGAE union along with plan to review” yet had “nothing further to report at This specific time.”
(Disclosure: BuzzFeed News employees formed a union with the NewsGuild of brand-new York earlier This specific year.)
The WGAE, which represents many some other digital media properties, including Vox, Vice, HuffPost, along with Gizmodo Media Group, said Gimlet is actually the first podcasting company to join the union.
“Podcasting is actually one of the most exciting brand-new media platforms for storytelling along with Gimlet is actually at the forefront of creating compelling content,” WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson said in a press Discharge. ”We welcome the people in This specific field into our Guild, where we will work to ensure they are afforded rights along with protections like those won by some other content creators working in film, television, news along with brand-new media.”
Spotify, which is actually primarily known as a music streaming service, also acquired a podcasting technology company called Anchor last month, signaling the company’s interest in producing more original content. When the company went public in April 2018, of which was valued at $26 billion.
Spotify completed its acquisition of Gimlet earlier This specific month, along with while Gimlet will continue to operate as a stand-alone unit, the two companies are beginning to merge operations. While Gimlet employees said their organizing campaign predated the acquisition announcement, they feel the union will help ensure Spotify considers employee input during the transition.
“A lot of the benefits we were hoping Gimlet might codify along with put in a contract, Spotify offers those benefits along with then some. They’re often a little more generous in of which particular area, yet the same concerns we had still exist,” said Gimlet host along with producer Eric Eddings. “of which is actually a complicated field, along with of which’s a brand-new field, along with of which’s moving truly, truly fast. along with so of which became immediately clear to a lot of the employees of which we need to have a voice in of which process.”
“The union feels like a truly not bad solve for figuring out how to represent the interests of employee voices, along with get a seat at the table with executives at Gimlet, along with the team at Spotify,” said Gimlet executive producer along with host Rachel Ward.
A spokesperson for Spotify didn’t respond to a request for comment before publication.
Members of the Gimlet organizing committee told BuzzFeed News of which, inside the past, management has been receptive to efforts to improve working conditions. Over the summer, employees said contract workers working on a temporary basis successfully negotiated for more benefits via the company, including paid time off.
“Even before we even commenced organizing more broadly across the company, contractors had been organizing for a while around our own issues,” said Soraya Shockley, a contract worker at Gimlet. “By having a union of which includes contractors … we wish to continue to push the industry forward on contracting issues.”
The issue of contract labor has been raised elsewhere inside the technology industry of late. Employee activists at Google who staged a walkout late last year over a lack of consequences for workplace sexual misconduct have been advocating for the company to address the working conditions for contractors at Google, where more than half of the workforce is actually made up of contractors.
Unionized tech workers are a rarity, though, which means Gimlet employees who are joining Spotify will be in a unique position inside the industry.
“This specific is actually the perfect time,” said Eddings. “If you’re re-envisioning the entire company … who better to have a say in how best to do of which than the employees who have to execute of which?”