Gawker staff unionizes with Writers Guild

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By NICK McCREARY, Variety.com

The editorial staff at digital media publisher Gawker Media has voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East by an 80-27 margin.

The sites include Gawker, Jezebel, Deadspin, Jalopnik, Deadspin, Kotaku, io9, Gizmodo and Lifehacker.

"As Gawker's writers have demonstrated, organizing in digital media is a real option, not an abstraction," said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. "People who do this work really can come together for their own common good. The WGAE, Gawker's writers, and the company's management share a commitment to journalistic integrity and creative freedom."

Gawker and the guild announced on May 27 that the vote would bypass the traditional route of conducting the election through the National Labor Relations Boar. They said that going through the federal government presumed an antagonism between employers and employees that does not exist at the Gawker Media sites.

The guild noted that it began working in 2009 on representing writers in the digital technology arena. It's focused most of its organizing efforts in nonfiction television in recent years and has collective bargaining agreements with Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods. and Lion TV.

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