Jezebel and other digital media workers go on strike and demand trans rights

Around 100 syndicated journalists, editors, artists, podcasters, social media specialists and videographers on sites such as Jezebel, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Gizmodo went on strike on Tuesday after the Gizmodo Media Group (GMG) union contract expired. The GMG Union is a boutique of the Writers Guild of America, East, a union representing thousands of members who write content for film, television, news and digital media. The union paved the way as the first digital media union when it was organized in 2015. It is also now the first digital media union to go on an indefinite strike for a fair contract, with 100% of the members voting in favor of a strike. of the 93 percent of members who voted.

The union’s contract expired on Monday evening and workers say G/O Media, a media conglomerate that includes the aforementioned publications as well as The AV club, the takeaways, the onionand inventory, blocked its negotiations. These workers are fighting for trans-inclusive healthcare coverage, higher wages in the wake of inflation and the pandemic, flexible working from home, protection from forced relocation to New York, a additional parental leave, caps on health care costs and increased efforts to hire diverse candidates. G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller claimed that the terms offered to the GMG union were equivalent to, if not better than, the terms agreed to by The Onion Union (a sister union of G/O) and said management had “struggling to understand why the terms agreed to by half of the members of the editorial syndicate last year are no longer acceptable to the other half now.

Murjani Rawls, striker and writer at The rootnoted:

We firmly believe that the things we are fighting for in this new deal would greatly improve the lives of every creator who works at G/O Media. This includes better wages, better healthcare, which is also inclusive for our friends and staff who identify as trans and non-binary, and better work-from-home options. We are in 2022. Inflation is still high. The pandemic has changed the way we view work.

According to the union’s website, G/O Media management insists on removing all guarantees that their current healthcare benefits and cost sharing will continue and refuses to codify the widely accepted World Professional Association standards of care. for Transgender Health. In the midst of a pandemic that has affected the health of large swathes of the working class and attacks on trans rights across the United States, particularly in Texas, it is absolutely abominable for the leadership of attack workers’ rights to affordable healthcare and trans healthcare coverage. These workers are explicitly fighting for the rights of their trans, non-binary and gender-wide spectrum colleagues in their bargaining agreement – ​​a fight that all unions should take up. The working class is trans, queer and of color, and this struggle is a great example of how we can take the fight for especially oppressed workers where we have the most power: our workplaces.

As the union’s website states, “Labour has a right to everything it creates.” Workers should be able to decide on their working conditions and where they work. This struggle and its militancy should serve as an inspiration to all workers. When we use the power of our work to strike, it fundamentally changes the terrain of the struggle.

KS Mehta

KS Mehta is a research assistant in New York.