An "overwhelming" majority of Video and editorial staffers at comedy web sites The Onion, AV Club and Clickhole have decided to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East, and have called on management to recognize WGAE as its collective bargaining representative, according to the union.
(No, seriously, they really have. The Onion was fake news before real news became fake news in the minds of some. For example, one of the lead headlines on the site at press time was: Mark Zuckerberg Prepares For Congressional Testimony By Poring Over Lawmakers’ Personal Data.
Onion Inc. is part of the Fusion Media Group, which in turn is owned by Gizmodo Group.
WGAE points out that there is precedent for the Onion Inc. staffers' move. In 2011, a TV version of Onion's ripped from the bogus headlines satire, the Onion News Network, joined WGAE--the show ended after two seasons on the Independent Film Channel.
“We welcome the editorial and production employees at Onion, Inc. to the movement for collective bargaining in digital media," said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson. "Working together, we can build power and make concrete gains in the workplace as we have at GMG and across the digital media landscape.”
“By organizing, we intend to protect the culture and values that make Onion Inc. a singularly great place to work and establish a formal means by which the employees have a collective and meaningful voice in our workplace," the staff organizing committee said, according to the union. "We’ve seen the positive effects of unions across digital media newsrooms, especially at our Gizmodo Media Group sister sites, and believe Onion Inc. will similarly benefit,” wrote the Onion Inc. Organizing Committee."
"We are dedicated to providing an environment where all our employees can thrive and we respect their right to unionize," said a spokesperson for Onion Inc. "We have begun having discussions with the WGAE about the path forward and hope to arrive at an arrangement in short order."
WGAE currently represents Gizmodo sites Splinter News, The Root, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik and Earther.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.