Staffers at four renowned media brands – Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living, Shape Magazine and PeopleTV – announced on Thursday that they are forming a union.
They are seeking to join their Guild-represented colleagues at PEOPLE magazine, and have asked the Meredith Corporation, which owns the publications, to voluntarily recognize them as a single bargaining unit of The NewsGuild of New York local.
Workers at the publications are demanding a voice in their newsroom and intend to address job security, wages, affordable and equal access to benefits, a demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion, and transparent editorial standards. They are part of a surge in union organizing that has gripped the news industry over the last five years.
“As a lifelong reader of Entertainment Weekly and staff member who’s seen us weather immense changes including a cross-country move and going monthly, I knew innately that the pandemic was a clarion call that we all need a seat at the table to help ensure the continued success of the brand for years to come,” said Maureen Lenker, Entertainment Weekly Digital Writer.
“I come from a long line of union members, which means I’ve witnessed firsthand how organizing and standing in solidarity can make a workplace a more fair, equitable, and fulfilling environment whether it’s shoring up protections or simply giving workers greater agency. When we realized other brands were feeling the same, we couldn’t think of anything better than coming together to form a united Meredith union that would allow us all to stand together.”
Riley Wofford, Assistant Food Editor at Martha Stewart Living, said, “For me, forming a union with the NewsGuild is about preserving my career and ensuring that I can continue to do a job that I love. I think we all enjoy the work that we do – we just want to be fairly compensated for that work and given the resources we need to uphold the standards that we have for our publication.”
“The Shape staff organized to ensure that our brand practices its own message of wellness,” said David Baratta, Shape Photo/Bookings Editor. “Because we love this brand and are proud of the beautiful product we produce, we want to maintain the integrity of what comes from us as being sincere and informed for our audience as well as ourselves. We also felt that there was a gap between the Meredith brands, and we want to bridge those divides to pool our resources to support each other. This has provided an opportunity to reach out to our colleagues across the company and create an environment for us all to feel more secure in using our collective voice.”
Riley Fields, a Producer at People TV, said, “My coworkers and I organized because we recognize we deserve the same benefits and protections as our colleagues at PEOPLE print and digital,” said “We’re especially thrilled to be joining our peers at Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living,andShape in an historic union that will make Meredith a better company for everyone. We’ve always taken great pride in our work, but building a collective voice in the workplace gives us a seat at the table — the benefits of which give us more reason to invest in Meredith and in turn, ourselves.”
Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York, said, “Our members, standing together, continue to demonstrate that a unionized workplace in the media is now an industry expectation.”
Follow the group on Twitter @MeredithUnion.