We, the US journalists of the Financial Times, are forming a union.
The US represents a key growth area for the FT, with the news organization’s award-winning coverage attracting a record number of American readers in the last year. The US accounts for 30 percent of the FT’s global readership, according to FT CEO John Ridding, even as the US newsroom has just 11 per cent of the company’s 700 journalists. We routinely punch above our weight.
As reporters, editors, video, audio and data journalists, editorial assistants, social media experts, and columnists, we love our jobs. However, the turbulence of our industry—which has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic—has exposed our vulnerabilities as US employees of the FT. Our allegiance to the organization has inspired us to secure conditions where we can do our best work.
We want a newsroom where compensation is fair and transparent, and racial and gender disparities are corrected; where employment status is protected; where staffing levels are sufficient to safeguard journalists’ mental health; and Covid-19 protections are put in place to protect our physical health.
Unionizing places us in the company of peers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Guardian US, and aligns us with recently unionized sister publications at FT Specialist. Our UK colleagues already are represented by the London-based National Union of Journalists. It seems only fair that we have the same opportunity to have a seat at the table and benefits that don’t change with corporate strategy or ownership. Like our colleagues, we want a contract.
Capitalism needs a reset, the FT has argued, because the long-term health of the system depends not just on delivering profits but also on meeting the needs of other stakeholders—including workers. The FT’s editorial board has cheered this holistic approach to business, while applauding collective action in other industries and deploring employers’ attempts to block workers from unionizing. It’s time for the FT to practice what it preaches.
Our decision to unionize to improve pay and working conditions in the US newsroom will only augment the long-term health of the Financial Times. We call on the FT to honor its long history with the NUJ, and its recent voluntary recognition of FT Specialist Guild, by voluntarily recognizing us as well.