This week, an overwhelming majority of digital journalists working for Al Jazeera America (AJAM) voted to be represented by the The NewsGuild of New York, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 31003. AJAM joins a growing number of digital outlets that have recently organized, including The Guardian U.S., Gawker, Vice and Salon, This was the first of these organizing drives where management forced a government-supervised election, while other outlets have voluntarily recognized union organizing efforts. AJAM management initially challenged the voting eligibility of nine senior journalists, claiming they were supervisors. But a few hours after the ballots were counted and the lopsided outcome was announced, management dropped its objections and agreed they were part of the new bargaining unit.
Alex Newman, an assistant multimedia editor at AJAM, is looking forward:
This vote confirms what we already knew going into this process—that we have overwhelming support in the newsroom for this union.
Bernie Lunzer, president of TNG-CWA, said:
In voting to join The NewsGuild-CWA, journalists at Al Jazeera America are sending a strong message to all digital media workers—that they don't need management's approval to form a union.
Peter Szekely, president of The NewsGuild of New York, added:
We’re pleased to welcome Al Jazeera America’s digital journalists as our newest members. As the news business continues to move toward digital platforms, the Guild will be there to ensure that employees have a voice in their workplaces, that they’re able to uphold the highest ethical standards of journalism and that compensation in the industry is high enough to sustain them now and throughout their careers.
Read more about the efforts at AJAM.