Workers at Story Syndicate Successfully Unionize
After a nationwide organizing effort involving two separate unions, workers have won union recognition at the Brooklyn-based documentary powerhouse Story Syndicate.
Story Syndicate, founded in 2019 and led by Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan, produces high-profile, award-winning non-fiction features and series, including projects such as “Harry and Meghan” (Netflix), the “Unknown” series (Netflix), “Fauci,” “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (HBO), and “Last Call” (HBO).
In a remarkable example of inter-union solidarity, organizers from the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) and Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) worked in coordination to unionize the workers. In addition to the editorial employees who will be represented by MPEG, employees working as producers will be represented by WGAE.
With this win, the unions notch another milestone in ongoing efforts to bring about more documentary and non-fiction work under collective bargaining agreements. Historically, most documentary production companies have been non-union, and thus their workers have not enjoyed the same workplace benefits and protections as their counterparts in the entertainment industry’s heavily-unionized scripted sector. But especially in the streaming age, documentaries have become an increasingly key part of media companies’ business models, spurring non-fiction workers and the unions to organize a sector of the industry that had often fallen outside of collective bargaining agreements.
Story Syndicate now joins a select list of documentary houses where editors enjoy union representation, which includes the companies of such well-known creators as Errol Morris, Ken Burns, and Michael Moore. Read more here.