News briefs

Gothamist and DNAinfo shut down for unionizing

New York local news staples Gothamist and DNAinfo were shut down by their billionaire owner, Joe Ricketts, on Nov. 3 — only a week after their workers voted to form a union. Ricketts initially took the two websites’ content offline, with all links redirecting to a statement from the owner announcing the shutdown. The archives have since been restored.

“This is an act of direct retaliation for our successful union effort,” said Noah Hurowitz, who was a reporter at DNAinfo. “I have no regrets. We did the right thing, stood tall. I am proud.”

The newsroom workers had agreed in April to join the Writers Guild of America East. But Ricketts refused to recognize the union, so the National Labor Relations Board held a formal vote in October and all but two New York workers voted to join the union.

The shutdown also put the websites’ employees in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco out of work.

The sudden end to the two news sites sparked an outcry from their customers and from colleagues. Hundreds of people crowded into City Hall Park on Nov. 6 to show their support for the fired workers. Nearly 20 public officials and media professionals turned up to address the rally, joining the crowd in chants of “Union busting is disgusting” and “The workers united will never be defeated.”

The New York Times, Oct. 27
NPR, Nov. 3
New York Observer, Nov. 6

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