Employees Organizing Push to Unionize Politico

Unionization drive led by newspaper’s labor reporter

January 26, 2015

Employees at Politico are organizing a push to unionize the news outlet, amid recent shakeups at the inside-the-Beltway publication.

The effort is being led by Mike Elk, a Politico labor reporter and a strident proponent of unions who started at the outlet last year.

"As Chris Townsend would say at [United Electrical], we got a beachhead @politico & are moving inland as we are encoutering almost no opposition [sic]," Elk tweeted on Monday.

A source tells the Washington Free Beacon that management is not openly opposing the push and there appears to be interest inside the newsroom, where some employees are concerned about long work hours and a paywall that blocks many PoliticoPro articles from the general public. Organizers believe the effort could take six months to a year.

Politico has been losing staffers at a high rate under its new editor, Susan Glasser, and insiders have blamed the newsroom turmoil on her management style and new vision for the outlet.

However, Elk praised Glasser and said the unionization effort has nothing to do with her leadership.

"Susan Glasser is the best skipper in the business, this has nothing to do with her," he said. "I believe in working for a union, that's all this is about for me."

Politico lost over 40 staffers in 2014, a trend that continued into the New Year. Five journalists departed the outlet in a 10-day period in January. Two of its top political reporters, Maggie Haberman and Alex Burns, recently joined the New York Times, and others have left for the Washington Post, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal.

The outlet has also brought in new talent, including Michael Grunwald from Time magazine and Jack Shafer, a former media critic for Reuters.