Do unions and does unionization stand a chance of being adopted in the world of advertising, marketing, and media companies? “Unlikely,” is my instant gut-level response. But before the idea is rejected outright by me or by you, let’s spend a few minutes imagining a future where employees have much stronger footing and greater standing in their thought-worker-led workplaces.

Restless Bodies, Active Minds

Ernie Schenck, writing on Medium, points to a stat that can not be ignored:

A recent Campaign US poll claims that 37% of advertising employees described morale in their shop as “low” or “dangerously low” while 70% said they are “actively job seeking”.

Why are people so bummed out at work these days?

There’s not a lot of mystery in this. If you want high morale in your firm, you dedicate yourself to treating people well. You make people go on vacation and suggest that they go home to their families and personal lives by 6:00 each day. Also, pay people well and trust them.

Workers at GPS Impact Join Teamsters

Workers for GPS Impact will now be represented by the Teamsters Union, after Local 696 in Topeka, Kan. Workers overwhelmingly signed up to become Teamster members, according to Claire Cook-Callen, a senior strategist at GPS Impact for over seven years.

Cook-Callen and her co-workers reached out to Local 696 in July. On August 18, they secured Teamster representation.

“Our management’s decision to voluntarily recognize the GPS employee union reaffirms our entire company’s commitment to the national labor movement and progressive values,” said Hannah J. Smith, a digital strategist at GPS Impact.

GPS Impact is a public affairs and multimedia advertising agency that provides candidates, advocacy groups, and organizations with strategic communications, advertising, and more. GPS currently has offices in Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Texas Newspaper Workers Fight for Their Rights

In July of 2020, journalists at the Dallas Morning News became the first newspaper in Texas to announce they were unionizing in Texas. They were followed by workers at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Austin American-Statesman. All decided to join the NewsGuild, part of a growing nationwide trend as journalists fought back against layoffs and corporate predation.

The Texas Observer reports that the newsrooms are now fighting for their first collective bargaining agreements, the contracts that will determine their future working conditions. Often, this is a long and grueling process. Workers report that bargaining is taking dramatically different paths depending on who owns the outlet.

According to Poynter, in the past decade, workers at news publications have launched more than 200 union drives, and over 90% of them have been successful.