Gimlet Media Unionizes With WGA East

microphone - 2019 SXSW Conference March 8, 2019 - Getty-H 2019
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Recently acquired by Spotify, Gimlet is the first podcast company to unionize.

Gimlet Media has become the first podcasting company to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East. 

The move by the 83-person creative staff to unionize comes one month after Gimlet was acquired by Spotify, though the unionization effort was underway before the sale. The Gimlet Media Organizing Committee released a statement Wednesday that reads, "As Spotify's reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first season of StartUp. Our Union is an expression of passion for what we do, and a proactive effort to work with management to shape the future of the company. It's important for us to solidify the things that make Gimlet a great place to work, and to address whatever issues may arise." 

A spokesman for Gimlet confirmed that the company has received a formal notice from the WGAE union and plans to review it. "We have nothing further to report at this time," he added. 

Gimlet's organizing committee says it will work toward a contract that has consistent and transparent job descriptions and salaries, a clear process for promotion, fair policies around contractor employment, concrete and ambitious diversity initiatives, an equitable process for protecting employees' intellectual property, clear disciplinary, termination and resignation policies and employee input on company decision-making. 

"Together with management, we hope to establish a precedent for the podcasting world, and to negotiate a contract that protects workers, while maintaining Gimlet's position as an industry leader," the committee said. "We are asking Gimlet Media to voluntarily recognize our union, and we are excited to begin the bargaining process." 

The workers of Gimlet join a number of digital media companies that have recently unionized with WGA East, including CBSN, Gizmodo Media Group, Vox Media, Vice and Refinery29. 

"Podcasting is one of the most exciting new media platforms for storytelling and Gimlet is at the forefront of creating compelling content," said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. "We welcome the people in this field into our Guild, where we will work to ensure they are afforded rights and protections like those won by other content creators working in film, television, news and new media."

Gimlet was founded in 2014 by Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber. Its roster of podcasts includes Reply All, Homecoming and Crimetown. Spotify acquired Gimlet as part of its push into new forms of audio beyond music. Gimlet will remain an independent division of Spotify and will remain based out of Brooklyn.