Roughly 100 writers and content producers at Jezebel, Gizmodo and other G/O Media websites went on strike Tuesday after the Gizmodo Media Group Union’s contract expired at midnight.
The newsroom workers for six sites, including The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, and Jalopnik, plan to picket outside G/O Media’s offices in New York City on Tuesday after talks broke down between the company and the Writers Guild of America East.
The union has been in negotiations for a month seeking to maintain its cap on health care costs and add WPATH-compliant Trans-inclusive health coverage, maintain parental leave, and secure guaranteed minimum wage increases.
In an email to G/O Media staff on Tuesday obtained by TheWrap, CEO Jim Spanfeller said he was “disappointed” that contract terms could not be reached before “the Union voted to cut off talks and strike.”
“To be clear, the terms we offered the GMG Union were not only equivalent to, but in some instances better than, terms agreed to by The Onion Union (GMG’s sister union here at G/O) just one year ago,” Spanfeller said. “We are struggling to understand why terms agreed to by half the editorial union members last year are not acceptable to the other half now.”
He continued: “I am hopeful we will find a middle ground soon.”
The GMG union noted its historic role in organizing digital content producers. “In 2015, this union broke new ground when it organized the first digital media union,” the organization said in a statement. “Now, GMG Union will break ground yet again: We are the first digital media shop to go on an open-ended strike for a fair contract.”
The decision to strike followed a unanimous vote by 93% of union members, who said in a statement that they are “fighting for a say in our benefits, WPATH-compliant healthcare offerings, remote work, and equitable salary minimums to match unprecedented financial times.”
The union represents reporters, editors, artists, podcasters, social media specialists and videographers.