Staffers at Outside go all in on forming a union

Staffers at Outside magazine announced Tuesday that they are unionizing.

“Since the start of @outsidemagazine almost 45 years ago, we’ve been providing intrepid coverage of those who dare to push the limits of what we think is possible,” workers wrote in a tweet. “So today, we are proud to announce that the Outside magazine editorial staff is forming a union.” They will become part of the Denver News Guild Local 37074.

“Our mission is to serve a diverse community of readers with high-quality journalism and longform storytelling about the outdoors,” workers said. “We’re proud of that mission and recognize the tremendous potential of Outside Interactive, Inc.’s stated goals of equitable access to and stewardship of the outdoor spaces we love.”

The company now includes more than 40 titles and brands, but while the number of staffers has dwindled and job responsibilities have multiplied, salaries and benefits have failed to account for the changes.

Since last year, editorial teams have shrunk and overall turnover has been more than 35 percent, staffers said. In the face of continued cuts, pay stagnation, and “management decisions that value profit and corporate expansion” over editorial missions, “we believe the only way to ensure that Outside is an equitable workplace and its editorial integrity is kept intact is by coming together and forming a union.”

Outside’s standing as an industry leader is owed significantly to the editorial staff who edit, visualize, design, fact-check, write and produce the work readers see in print and online, they said.

“What we all have in common is that we’re proud to work on a team of talented and passionate journalists who, with the proper resources, see Outside thriving as both a workplace and a publication for years to come,” workers said.

“What we also have in common is that our salaries fall significantly below market standards, we have little job security and unclear pathways to advancement, and we are concerned that not enough progress has been made toward Outside’s DEI [diversity, equity, inclusion] goals. By forming a union, we’ll be able to advocate for the basic standards and processes that allow for more transparency, worker protections, and accountability from management.”

They are asking Outside, Inc. to voluntarily recognize their unit.

“We’re doing this because we love the work we do. We look forward to creating a transparent, accountable, and diverse work environment. We urge @outsidemagazine and Outside Inc. to voluntarily recognize our union, and we look forward to an amicable collective-bargaining process.

“Of 17 eligible unit members, we’re thrilled to see the overwhelming support of 15 members. We’re excited to start a productive bargaining process and are grateful for our peers in the industry who have laid down tremendous groundwork through their tireless action within the last few years. They have given us a hopeful vision of what this effort can bring and shown us that collective action is crucial to protecting the work we care so much about,” they said.

Follow Outside Union on Twitter @outsidemagunion.