Financial Times US Guild wins union recognition

Staffers at the Financial Times US bureaus won recognition of the FT US Guild on May 11, less than five months after they announced their intention to unionize. They are part of the News Media Guild, which also represents employees of the Associated Press, Guardian US and others.

“Going public is always a little scary, but we were optimistic from the start,” said Caitlin Gilbert, a data journalist based in New York City. After a year of organizing underground they had the support of a supermajority of staffers when they unveiled their union campaign, she said.

“But it was good to see the movement happen after a long back-and-forth with management” about who would be eligible to be in the unit, Gilbert said. The unit will consist of about 60 people, including a few that management had hoped to exclude. The Financial Times is a U.K.-based publication and already had a relationship with the U.K.-based National Union of Journalists.

Union members are now preparing to bargain their first contract, discussing among themselves issues of transparency and equity in pay, and diversity in staffing, hiring and retention. They’re chatting with everyone and getting as many people involved as possible. “The NewsGuild has done a great job of teaching us how to organize” with lots of opportunities for training, Gilbert said.

The Financial Times is a U.K.-based publication with bureaus around the world. The company has had a long-standing relationship with the U.K.-based National Union of Journalists and had voluntarily recognized the FT Specialist group, which is based in New York, in 2021.

“I’ve seen how powerful this process can be for folks,” Gilbert said. “Bringing folks together and talking and seeing how people feel empowered when they realize they’re not alone. That’s been the coolest part of it. It was brand new to me.”