Culver City, California – Production and post-production workers at The Young Turks (TYT), the online network offering news from a progressive, left-leaning perspective, have organized a union through the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
TYT, founded in 2002 by chief on-camera personality Cenk Uygur, produces a variety of programs, including its flagship talk show, The Young Turks. The company describes itself as “the largest online news and talk network for the connected generation.” Its YouTube channel has more than 4.6 million subscribers, and in 2017 the company completed a round of $20 million in equity funding.
Uygur has recently generated headlines by entering the race for the Congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill (CA-25).
TYT’s crew members announced their decision to unionize in a statement posted to social media on Wednesday. The statement reads:
“We’re proud to work behind the scenes at TYT to create online content that’s bold, entertaining, and unapologetically progressive. There is no other news and talk network quite like TYT, and the perspective our network brings to its political coverage is resolutely pro-justice and pro-worker.
“We’re proud of our content, and we’re proud, too, to put into practice in our workplace the values that our work helps bring to the screen every day. In our decision to go union, we join the wave of recent organizing in digital media, and we stand in solidarity with the renaissance of labor activism we see now in workplaces of all kinds throughout the country.”
Last week’s announcement was accompanied by a request sent to management that TYT officially recognize its employees’ union on the basis of a majority of the workers having signed union cards. The so-called “card check” process is a route to unionization frequently used by unions in the entertainment and media industries, and it forms a cornerstone of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 (H.R. 2474) passed by the House of Representatives by a 224 to 194 vote last week.
The union looks forward to management’s response and to entering into negotiations for a first contract.