The online news company Gawker has opened a public online forum to answer the question of whether its reporters should unionize — and the ensuing battle couldn’t be more interesting.
“Yesterday, Gawker Media announced that we will be holding an election next week to vote on whether our editorial staffers want to form a union,” Gawker wrote on its website.
“The purpose of this post is to allow our writers to discuss how they’re voting, and why,” it continued. “All Gawker Media editorial employees are invited to share their thoughts on the upcoming vote in the comment section below. We like to do these things out in the open.”
Gawker also noted the vote will only be on whether to join the Writers Guild of America, East but will not involve any specific contract, which will be decided later on. Nevertheless, the open forum exploded with different and very interesting views from declarations of love, threats of violence, jokes that were taken seriously, those who hate meetings and a fundamental misunderstanding of what libertarianism is from Adam Weinstein, a senior writer for Gawker and self-proclaimed one-time libertarian.
“I’m voting no,” Leah Finnegan, the features editor for Gawker, wrote. “Unions suck.”
“As a loyal member of the Gawker commentariat, I just want to commend the decision to run this piece,” another person noted. “I think it shows remarkable courage and/or stupidity, depending on your point of view.”
“I don’t know how I’m going to vote. I just know this whole thing has made me feel like shit,” Albert Burneko wrote.
Drew Magary, a writer for Deadspin and Gawker, has decided to vote no to the union for several reasons, primarily because he “fucking” hates meetings.
“I am an avid proponent of unions, a leftist, and am perpetually distrustful of those in power—especially those that hold sway over my own employment,” Kevin Draper wrote. “Yet on June 3rd, I am going to vote against Gawker Media editorial staffers unionizing. That is how fucked this entire process, from start to apparent finish, has been.”
“You know that absolutely every organizing drive is opposed most forcefully by people who claim to support unions in theory, right?” Freddie DeBoer wrote. “It’s the oldest cliche in labor organizing.”
“Shut up Freddie,” replied Draper.
“The process may have brought the worst out in some people—I think more than anything it’s just brought some long-simmering tensions to the front burner,” Max Read, editor-in-chief for Gawker, wrote. “But I assure you morale has been much, much worse in the past, often because of the kind of arbitrary management decisions that a union could help alleviate or maybe even protect against.”
Others hope the union will help them in their upcoming rebellion against the oppressive bourgeoisie of management.
“Not to be rude but I am voting yes on the union because management systematically uses its power to crush labor and now it’s time to turn the tables and destroy management,” Leah Beckmann, deputy editor for Gawker, posted.
Some though were just downright mean to those who had different opinions on the matter.
“I’m going to shove Tommy into a pool while he has his phone in his pocket,” Kyle Wagner, regressing editor at Gawker, posted.
“Sounds like what you really want is a competent HR department,” an anonymous person that went by the name Towelie wrote.
Some posters suggested a fight between the two more vocal posters might help resolve the debate over whether to join the union.
“Apparently this whole thing can just be settled with a fist fight between Chris Thompson and Hamilton Nolan,” one person wrote.
But in the end, some just couldn’t agree on if they had good or bad bosses.
“You say how great things are – but you think a union can ensure that everything stays great?” one poster noted. “Everything is great because you have a great boss. Your vote of yes is a vote of no confidence.”
“If you have confidence in your boss, you are an idiot. Trust has to be a two way street and that is not happening anymore,” another poster said.
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