A third Spotify-owned podcast company is unionizing. The Writers Guild of America-East (WGAE) has announced an “overwhelming majority” of writers, researchers, fact-checkers, hosts, and producers at Parcast have signed cards to unionize under its banner. WGAE, which is part of the AFL-CIO, already represents sister podcast companies Gimlet Media and The Ringer.
“We are thrilled to welcome Parcast writers to the Guild. Podcasting has grown enormously and the people who work in this medium deserve workplace protections and a voice on the job,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson in a statement. “By joining with the WGAE and bargaining collectively, these talented people will join a growing community of creative professionals dedicated to improving their rights on the job and in their work.”
In a “Why We’re Organizing” letter sent to management, the Parcast Union Organizing Committee explained their decision to unionize. The workers said they hope through collective bargaining they will be able to address workload and overtime issues with “a reasonable workload” for workers that “leaves time for playfulness and innovation.” Four-year old Parcast has launched 44 shows and, according to the union, produces more than 30 hours of new material each week.
Parcast employees are also calling for more equitable compensation and more transparent salary bands guided by clearer job descriptions. They also want management to make a “sincere commitment to creating a workplace as diverse and inclusive as the stories we tell.”
The group of now-organized workers has asked Spotify to recognize WGAE as its union. Once that happens, negotiations for a union contract would begin.
Meanwhile, Gimlet Media and The Ringer are both working to reach an agreement on their first union contract with Spotify. Last month the unionized staff members at the sports podcaster The Ringer called on Spotify to improve pay and offer better promotional opportunities. They have asked The Ringer for yearly across-the-board pay increases and the creation of base salary minimums for specific positions.