Workers at Washingtonian magazine announced June 23 that they are forming a union.
“For the past 56 years, Washingtonian has been a vital authority on the DC region,” they said in a statement. “We, the Washingtonian staff, have been deeply committed to that mission throughout the pandemic, publishing essential updates about COVID-19, covering protests in the streets, and producing the website’s most-read stories ever—all while continuing to create the monthly print magazine that our readers have counted on for decades.
“As editors, writers, and creatives, we know that the strength of Washingtonian is the strength of its staff. That’s why we are joining together to form a union.”
They will join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild Local 32035.
Washingtonian staffers say they are determined to ensure that every member of the team feels they have a voice.
They plan to advocate for fair compensation and report that some staffers have salaries in the $30,000s, despite the high cost of living in the region, and say many workers haven’t had a cost-of-living raise in years.
They also plan to advocate for a healthy office culture and a diverse and inclusive newsroom that reflects the community they serve.
Staffers at the magazine staged a one-day work stoppage last month after CEO Cathy Merrill authored an Op-Ed in the Washington Post suggesting that workers who continued to work from home after the pandemic eased would be less valuable to their employers and easier to “let go.”
Washingtonian workers say their decision to form a union is about much more than an Op-Ed. They have watched their colleagues in other newsrooms unionize for years, and well before COVID, at least some people in their newsroom wondered if unionizing was the best path forward for them.
In addition to improvements in pay and benefits, they want a concrete plan to diversify the newsroom, a clear process for safely reporting harassment, and a family leave policy that grants a reasonable amount of leave and treats parents of all gender identities equally.
“We are excited to be a part of the growing number of media organizations that have unionized over the past few years and look forward to helping find ways for our industry to navigate its challenges,” they said.