An “overwhelming majority” of staff members at Crooked Media, the progressive media company behind Pod Save America, are seeking to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East, the guild said on Monday.
The bargaining unit is comprised of 55 Crooked Media employees who are producers, writers, designers, editors, engineers and staff. In a letter to management, the unit said one of the union’s goals is to ensure that the working conditions at Crooked Media — which struck a major deal with SiriusXM, received an investment from George Soros’ Soros Fund Management and hired its first CEO in the last year — are not negatively impacted by these outside interventions.
Some of those “degradations,” as the union letter described it, have resulted in high turnover and low morale at the media company. Other goals for the union include prioritizing the hiring and advancement of staffers of color and increasing transparency on the company’s efforts to do so.
“Crooked has been increasingly unable to consistently attract and retain top industry talent due to less-than-competitive compensation, inadequate cost-of-living increases, and an unequal imposition of in-person work requirements and relocation costs,” the letter said. “In short, we want to see Crooked become the equitable workplace it purports to be.”
In a statement, a Crooked Media spokesperson said the company will work with the union “on the request for recognition and starting the collective bargaining process.” “At Crooked Media, we have consistently supported and amplified the power of organized labor and welcome our employees’ efforts to unionize,” the spokesperson added.
Crooked Media was founded in 2017 by former Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor. In addition to the flagship Pod Save America podcast, the company is behind shows like Pod Save the People, Edith!, Hysteria and Hall of Shame, among others. In unionizing with WGA East, Crooked Media staff are following similar unionization efforts from podcasting shops like Spotify’s Gimlet Media, Parcast and The Ringer; the iHeart Podcast Network; and Pineapple Street Studios.
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