Employees at the Huffington Post have formed a committee to unionize, making that staff the latest group of digital media workers to try to organize, International Business Times has learned. Sources familiar with the matter, including one within the company, told IBT on Thursday that employees at HuffPost had been in talks with a union for several weeks. Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are still in progress.
After some competition between the NewsGuild and the Writers Guild of America (East), HuffPost employees signed on with the WGAE, one source familiar with the talks told IBT.
A Huffington Post spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When reached by email Thursday, Huffington Post’s media editor, Gabriel Arana, who sources said is directly involved, denied any knowledge of the talks.
"If that's true I don't know anything about it, sorry," Arana wrote.
The WGAE’s executive director, Lowell Peterson, did not confirm or deny a union drive to IBT on Thursday.
The WGAE has unionized workers at Gawker, Vice, Salon and ThinkProgress, while the NewsGuild has taken on the Guardian US and Al Jazeera America, the latter of which is currently running an election administered by the National Labor relations Board after Al Jazeera did not recognize the union voluntarily.
Huffington Post is owned by AOL, which was acquired by Verizon for $4.4 billion in May. The deal gave Verizon a foothold in digital publishing and advertising, absorbing not only Huffington Post, but also TechCrunch and AOL.com.
Verizon does not exactly have an amicable track record with labor: The company has recently been battling with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which combined represent about 39,000 Verizon employees. Verizon has locked horns with the unions over pension benefits and healthcare before, which resulted in a strike in 2011.