Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Jezebel and Other Digital Media Workers Go on Strike, Demand Trans Rights

Roughly 100 unionized workers at websites under the G/O Media umbrella such as Jezebel and The Root went on strike Tuesday after the union’s contract expired. Among their central demands is trans-inclusive healthcare coverage for workers.

K.S. Mehta

March 5, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Image by Sarah Rense

About 100 unionized reporters, editors, artists, podcasters, social media specialists, and videographers at sites such as Jezebel, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Gizmodo went on strike Tuesday after the Gizmodo Media Group (GMG) Union’s contract expired. The GMG Union is a shop of the Writers Guild of America, East, a labor union representing thousands of members who write content for motion pictures, television, news, and digital media. The union broke ground 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 open-ended strike for a fair contract, with 100 percent of members voting in favor of a strike of the 93 percent of members that voted.

The union’s contract expired Monday night and workers claim that G/O Media, a media conglomerate that comprises the aforementioned publications as well as The A.V. Club, The Takeout, The Onion, and The Inventory, has stalled its negotiations. These workers are fighting for trans-inclusive health care coverage, higher salaries in the wake of inflation and the pandemic, work-from-home flexibility, protection against forced relocations to NYC, additional parental leave, caps on health care costs, and increased efforts to hire diverse candidates. CEO of G/O Media Jim Spanfeller claimed that the terms offered to the GMG Union were equivalent to or even better than terms agreed to by The Onion Union (a sister union at G/O) and said that management is “struggling to understand why terms agreed to by half the editorial union members last year are not acceptable to the other half now.” 

Murjani Rawls, a striking worker and writer at The Root, said

We firmly believe that the things that we’re fighting for in this new contract would greatly improve every creator’s life that works at G/O Media. That includes better wages, better healthcare, which also is inclusionary to our trans- and nonbinary-identifying friends and staff, and also better work-from-home options. It’s 2022. Inflation is still high. The pandemic has changed the way we look at 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 for Transgender Health’s standards of care. Amidst a pandemic that has affected the health status of large swaths of the working class and attacks on trans rights across the U.S., especially in Texas, it is absolutely abominable for management to attack workers’ rights to affordable health care and trans health care coverage. These workers are fighting explicitly for the rights of their trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive coworkers in their bargaining agreement — a struggle that all unions should be taking up. The working class is trans, queer, and of color, and this struggle is an excellent example of how we can take up the fight for specially oppressed workers from where we have the most power: our workplaces.

As the union’s website states, “Labor is entitled to all it creates.” Workers should get to decide the conditions of their labor and their workplaces. This struggle and its militancy should serve as an inspiration to all workers. When we use the power of our labor to strike, it fundamentally changes the terrain of struggle.  

Facebook Twitter Share

K.S. Mehta

K.S. Mehta is a research assistant in New York City.

Labor Movement

A UAW sign is held next to a "Free Palestine" sign

The UAW Has Called for a Ceasefire. It’s Time for All of Labor to Stand Up.

The UAW International union has joined calls for a ceasefire and is exploring how to divest from Israel. This is a step which should inspire union activists to take up the fight to bring their union into the fight against Israel's attack on Gaza and the struggle against imperialism.

Rose Lemlich

December 2, 2023
Protesters in NYC for Palestinian liberation.

Uniting Workers for Palestine Is a Fight for the Future of Labor

The struggle for Palestine shows the potential for the rank and file to push unions to break with imperialism and to build a new, combative, and internationalist unionism.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

November 27, 2023
A rally with people holding signs and a banner reading "Full funding"

Student Workers Stand Up for CUNY and Palestine

Attacks on CUNY and CUNY activists are an attack on all working people and students. Workers and students united can fight back.  

Olivia Wood

November 25, 2023

The Labor Movement Is Key for Palestinian Liberation

As part of the global movement in solidarity with Palestine and against the genocidal policies of the Israeli government, labor unions are taking action and demanding a ceasefire. This is not only a welcomed addition to the movement, but a necessary one that concretely shows the power of the working class.

Tristan Taylor

November 18, 2023


The New Hollywood McCarthyism Emerging Around Palestine

Over the past week, a new Hollywood McCarthyism has emerged: multiple people in Hollywood have jobs and representation over their support of Palestine. We must denounce and fight these attacks which weaken the movement and scare supporters into silence.

Sybil Davis

December 3, 2023

Robert Habeck Wrote a Play Praising a Right-Wing Mass Murderer

Germany's Green vice chancellor strikes many as an idealist who has been struggling with the tough realities of government. Yet before he was a national politician, he wrote a play that opens a window into a dark soul.

Nathaniel Flakin

December 1, 2023

The World Kissinger Built Must Die Too

Henry Kissinger died at 100 years old. But his legacy remains in the brutal world system he built and the future generations of imperialist ghouls he inspired. They all must go.

Samuel Karlin

November 30, 2023

Fact Check: Did German Leftists Try to Bomb West Berlin’s Jewish Community Center in 1969?

Answer: No. The bombing was undertaken by West Germany’s domestic secret service, originally founded by Nazis.

Nathaniel Flakin

November 29, 2023