All three podcast content companies that were acquired by Spotify since early 2019 — Gimlet, Parcast, and The Ringer — have officially unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East, and this morning, they’ve issued a joint statement pushing the Swedish audio streaming platform to engage them in “prompt and good-faith” contract negotiations.
Here’s the statement in full:
Gimlet, Parcast, and the Ringer are integral to Spotify’s ambitions to be the global leader in audio entertainment. But despite public assertions that Spotify values diversity, inclusion, and a healthy work environment, feedback from all three of our unions has been largely ignored. We have been met with delayed bargaining dates. And those of us in bargaining have seen Spotify simply copy and paste its existing policies into contract proposals, and cross out our proposals rather than offer counters. These practices purposefully delay substantive bargaining that could lead to contract ratifications.
We stand together as colleagues and fellow union members in calling for across-the-board increases, fair salary minimums, employee rights to derivative works, increased workplace diversity, and pathways to promotion. These items are not only essential to building a more equitable and inclusive workplace, but are also essential to reaching Spotify’s own goals of leading the world in audio. We are committed to working toward them together. We call for prompt and good-faith negotiations at the bargaining tables.
Speaking with a representative from the Gimlet Union yesterday, I was told that the joint statement is largely meant to serve as a show of solidarity between all three content units, which the rep cited as having shared goals and points of interests, though the undercurrent of frustration with the pace and nature of negotiations should also be noted.
The rep also notes that part of what’s driving this organizing push forward is a desire to serve an example for the industry as a whole. “If Spotify’s goal is to lead the world of audio, we see this as a really great way to set the standard of what a really good contract looks like in this industry,” the rep said.