A majority of eligible Education Week employees on Nov. 1 voted to unionize and be represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild in a 32-to-15 vote governed by rules of the National Labor Relations Board.
The union will represent 55 employees in the bargaining unit, which includes nonmanagerial reporters, visual artists, digital and engagement specialists, the EdWeek Research Center, marketing and advertising professionals, accounting, and other staff, according to Sarah Schwartz, a reporter at Education Week and a member of the EdWeek Union organizing committee.
“We’re thrilled to see that EdWeek employees have voted to unionize. This is the first step in making sure that all of our colleagues have the protections they deserve,” Schwartz said. “We’re really excited to work with all of our colleagues in the unit as we determine priorities for bargaining going forward and we’re also looking forward to working collaboratively with management.”
The goals in organizing a union included fair, equitable, and transparent salaries across the organization; employee input into remote-work policies; and greater focus on diversity in staff hiring and retention, Schwartz said. In addition, priorities include clear policies for career advancement and pathways, the use of interns and independent contractors; and protection against layoffs and termination, she said.
Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit publisher of Education Week, released a statement Wednesday announcing the vote totals. “From the beginning, we committed to respecting the outcome of a democratic vote and we look forward to good-faith collective bargaining with our colleagues,” said Michele Givens, the president and chief executive officer of Editorial Projects in Education, in the statement. Through a spokesperson, Givens affirmed her confidence in the publication’s commitment to education journalism and ability to successfully navigate this development.
The next step is vote certification by the NLRB. Then, union members will form a committee to survey employees on the issues important to them, draft a contract proposal, and submit it to management for negotiation. Eligible employees will be represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, the union for more than 2,500 news, information, nonprofit, and labor-organization workers in the Mid-Atlantic, and a local of The NewsGuild-CWA, which is a sector of the Communications Workers of America.
EdWeek employees voted on Oct. 11 in person; remote employees had until today to return their ballots. The vote came after management declined to voluntarily recognize the union when approached this summer. The organizing committee released a statement expressing optimism about the path forward.
“Our goals have always been, and continue to be, to work with our colleagues and with management to strengthen and improve Education Week,” said Emma Prillaman, the events manager at Education Week. “I’m personally most looking forward to codifying many of these strengths in our contract and to working collaboratively to innovate and improve, setting us ahead of the curve as a company.”
Schwartz acknowledged that EdWeek management expanded the family-leave policy over the summer in response to employee concerns, adding additional paid parental leave and offering paid Family Medical Leave Act leave for other covered reasons.
Based in Bethesda, Md., EdWeek has provided news and analysis on K-12 education since 1981 for a national audience of educators, researchers, and policymakers. The organization has 97 full-time employees.