Fusion employees organizing to form a union are receiving pushback from parent company Univision Communications Inc.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Univision executives warned employees at Fusion offices in New York, Miami, Oakland and Los Angeles over the past two weeks that unionization would negatively impact benefits, hiring and firing, communication between writers and editors, as well as cap salaries.
Caitlin Cruz, associate features editor at Fusion, told WSJ, “If a place tells you ‘don’t organize,’ there’s probably a reason you should.”
The meetings, according to WSJ, have been led by Fusion Chief Content Officer Daniel Eilemberg and COO Boris Gartner.
According to The Huffington Post, a committee of Fusion employees organizing the union sent a letter Monday to Isaac Lee, CEO of Fusion and chief news, entertainment and digital officer at Univision, calling for an end to the meetings and immediate recognition of the union.
“We call on you to live up to Fusion’s values by putting an immediate end to anti-union messaging and respecting our decision to organize for collective bargaining,” the committee wrote. “This is your chance to show your employees and our readers that Fusion isn’t just pretending to be supportive of unions.”
The letter said staffers were being given “inaccurate information” at these meetings by Fusion executives.
“Given the circumstances, it’s impossible to see this as anything other than an attempt to undermine our efforts to unionize,” the letter continued.
The committee asks Lee to give a “substantive response” to the letter by 5 p.m. ET tomorrow.
Fusion employees announced their intentions to unionize on Oct. 5.
In response, Eilemberg and Gartner sent out an email to staffers saying the company would be sharing information with employees “so that they can make an educated, personal decision from the privacy of a voting booth” and “at the end of that process, we think you will agree that guild representation would not be beneficial for you or Fusion.”
Fusion has organized with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), which has represented other digital media companies, such as The Huffington Post, Vice Media and Salon.
“What we’re seeing here is a real interest on the part of digital media employees to have a voice in the decisions that affect how they work, and how they’re treated at work,” Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE told BuzzFeed.Univision recently acquired Gawker Media for $135 million, folding the company into the Fusion Media Group unit under the new name Gizmodo Media Group. Univision recognized Gawker’s incoming union, leading some Fusion employees to believe the time was right to create their own.