WIRED has always focused on the future, to better prepare readers for its promise and upheaval. Now it’s time to secure our own place in that future.
From its founding 27 years ago, WIRED has consistently used its platform to spur society-wide discussions about the ways technology is impacting humankind. These changes are so pivotal, as our cofounder Louis Rossetto wrote in our origin manifesto, that “their only parallel is probably the discovery of fire.” As we have chronicled these shifts, they have transformed media as a whole, including WIRED itself and the larger company of which it is a part. Now we believe it’s time for WIRED to have a protected, united voice for the staff who create this publication.
To that end, we have resolved to unionize. Like our Condé Nast colleagues at The New Yorker, Ars Technica, and Pitchfork, we have chosen to join the NewsGuild—an organization that also represents vibrant publications like the Associated Press, Reuters, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and one that understands our core commitment to journalism.
WIRED staff members have been preparing to take this step for months, but given the historic times in which we are all now living, and the acute economic crisis playing out in the United States and around the world, it is more important than ever that we come together. At the same time, WIRED’s journalism is especially vital now, and we have been producing industry-leading coverage of the pandemic. We deserve a protected voice within our workplace during this period of unprecedented instability, and our goal is to work together with management to safeguard our publication and staff as these societal changes unfold.
Our reasons for organizing long predate the current crisis, however. Salaries vary widely, even among staffers who do similar work. Full-time contractors work alongside staff members, doing the same jobs without the same benefits. Company-wide consolidation of editorial departments threatens to erode WIRED’s unique voice. And staffers in San Francisco feel perpetual uncertainty about the future of their office, despite the need for a strong presence in Silicon Valley. These challenges also contribute to a lack of diversity in our staff, which must change both for the health of the WIRED community and the integrity of the journalism we produce.
Perhaps most fundamentally, we often are made to feel that our jobs depend on the precarious approval of Condé Nast corporate leaders with whom we have no communication. It’s difficult to maintain WIRED’s distinct values as two levels of management grapple with competing priorities and fiscal pressures. Forming a union will give WIRED workers a direct seat at the table in discussions with both WIRED leadership and Condé Nast.
WIRED has always focused on the future, to better prepare readers for its promise and upheaval. Now it’s time to secure our own place in that future, with our voices rooted in a workplace of transparency, diversity, and fairness. As journalists, we must hold ourselves to the same standards we hold the tech companies we cover. By unionizing, we earnestly seek to secure the future of WIRED and strengthen its claim as the publication best qualified to report on technology and our changing world.
We urge Condé Nast and WIRED management to recognize our union and look forward to beginning the collective bargaining process to find a fair path forward together.