Onion, Inc., Elon Musk’s Gatsby’s green light, has unionized. Per an announcement on The A.V. Club this morning, the family of websites that includes The Onion, ClickHole, The A.V. Club, The Takeout, Onion Labs and their video and art departments will join The Writer’s Guild of America, East. That guild also represents their sister sites in the Gizmodo Media Group; both are owned by Univision Communications.
Onion, Inc. staffers requested formal recognition from their management on Monday. As that announcement notes, they will join a growing body of digital media outlets to unionize in recent years, not only the GMG sites but also Vice, Vox, HuffPost, Slate, Thrillist and others. WGAE is no stranger to humor, either; it represents writing staffs of late night shows including Saturday Night Live, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In other words, all the cool kids are unionizing with WGAE, and also the staff of SNL.
Here is an excerpt from Onion Inc.’s letter to their management, which contains a number of great reasons for any creative staff to unionize, perhaps even your own:
Why we’re unionizing:
To have a seat at the table
We believe Onion Inc.’s success begins and ends with its creative staffs, who are responsible for producing the content that sustains the company’s reputation and profitability. We best understand what our departments need to succeed. We must ensure that we are all part of any major decision-making process that affects the company’s organizational structure, editorial practices, or financial outcomes.
To strengthen our culture and maintain editorial independence
We seek to preserve the collaborative spirit and creative integrity of Onion Inc. Maintaining a safe and supportive environment is imperative in facilitating the creation of high-quality work. It is also essential that our creative staffs continue to have independent oversight of the editorial, graphical, and video work they produce, and that this is reflected in the hierarchy of the editorial publications.
To ensure fair wages, hiring practices, consistent benefits, and severance pay
We want to ensure fair compensation for everyone who contributes to the success of Onion Inc., including contractors. This includes a workplace with pay equity, job stability, quality healthcare, overtime compensation, concrete parental leave, and formalized channels for communication with management. We want to prioritize recruitment and retention of people with backgrounds that are often underrepresented in our industry, and hold Univision and Onion Inc. management accountable in adhering to our values.
How about that!