Arianna Huffington told employees at an all-hands-on-deck meeting Monday that the Huffington Post's management will soon announce that it recognizes the staff's union, the Writers Guild of America East, International Business Times has learned. Several staffers confirmed to IBT that Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the site, said the announcement would come in a matter of days.
A Huffington Post representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news comes after around 25 employees were let go last week following a reorganization of the site's streaming video department, HuffPost Live. The WGAE did not comment as to whether those employees, set to be part of the union's bargaining unit, were under any kind of protection amid the ongoing negotiations.
IBT reported the makings of a union drive in October, which was officially announced days later. Talks appeared to hit a snag in December when employees signed an open letter requesting that management make good on Huffington's initial declaration of support and recognize the guild.
The standstill, according to a staffer at HuffPost, was over whether certain editors were qualified to join the bargaining unit. A similar holdup occurred at Al Jazeera America's digital newsroom last fall, when it refused to voluntarily recognize its staffers' union drive and instead spent money on a union-busting law firm. The pro-union employees prevailed by forcing an election administered through the National Labor Relations Board, winning the vote with an overwhelming majority.
With Huffington's words of encouragement Monday, HuffPost now appears ready to avoid AJAM's fate and join its contemporaries Gawker, Vice, ThinkProgress and Guardian US in voluntarily recognizing its workers' union drive.
Employees announced the drive with a list of issues they sought to address, which included more equitable pay, better-defined job descriptions, standards for hiring, firing and disciplinary actions, a better commitment to staff diversity and editorial freedom.