Insider chief executive officer Henry Blodget sent out the following after its editorial staff went on strike:
Barbara’s out this week, so I want to briefly address the union situation.
First and foremost, I want to thank you all—including our union members—for working through this with us. As I told you two years ago, my only concern about having a union at Insider was that a third-party organization might try to use it to divide us and create an “us vs. them” dynamic at the company. Unfortunately, this is indeed what the Guild has recently tried to do. So we are grateful to all of you for remembering that we are all actually on the same team.
To be clear
We have beaten the odds and thrived for the past 16 years because we have worked as one team with one mission: Serving our audience, clients, and colleagues. To continue to succeed, we need to continue to do that. So we all look forward to getting this behind us and refocusing on our mission.
I also want to thank our union leaders for agreeing last night to allow our colleagues who are leaving the company to actually leave. As we said in April, we very much regret having to let people go. Unfortunately, the Guild’s approach of keeping our teammates in limbo for the past six weeks has made it even harder on them. So we are grateful to our union leaders for letting them move on with their lives.
The Guild has now persuaded some of our union members to go on strike in the hopes of forcing us to accept some unworkable contract demands. This is unfortunate, but we respect our team’s right to strike, and we will get through it
As you know, over the past two years, I have stepped back from day-to-day leadership at Insider and transitioned the company to an amazing new leadership team. They (and you) are doing an incredible job of navigating the challenging circumstances our industry is facing, and I am proud of and grateful to all of you. But for some broader context, let me share a bit of my own philosophy on this topic.
As those of you who have followed my writing over the years know, I am very much in favor of companies sharing the value they create with the people who create it — their teams. Importantly, we have always done this at Insider.
Yes, some companies in our economy are so spectacularly profitable that they could and should share more, but Insider is not among them. Thanks to you all and our clients and audience, we are paying our own way, which in this industry these days is a remarkable accomplishment. But there is no universe in which we would be described as spectacularly profitable (“very modestly profitable” would be a fair description). We have finite resources, and they have to support all of us.
Importantly, we are sympathetic to what our union leaders are asking for at the bargaining table: We would all like better and cheaper health insurance, higher salaries, and guaranteed raises and promotions. But we already pay well at Insider — as well as we can and near the high end for our industry. We have consistently raised our pay over the years, and we will continue to do that as our budget allows. We create a nurturing and flexible workplace and lots of opportunities for advancement, and we have excellent and competitive benefits. And we work in a hyper-competitive industry in which we all have to earn our roles, pay, and progress every day.
Most importantly, Insider is not just our US editorial union. Insider is an inspiring and amazing team of more than 800 people around the world, including many great journalists who are not US union members. Each of us is important to our success and deserves to share in it. As we have said from the beginning, we will immediately sign any contract that is fair for our union members and for the rest of our colleagues. And we look forward to doing that soon.
In the meantime, thank you all for continuing to serve our audience, clients, and each other. We have a great team, and we have a sound plan for keeping everything humming while some of our US union members are out. In fact, this situation will give us an opportunity to accelerate some initiatives that we believe will help us do an even better job of serving our audience over the long run. Innovation is exciting, and we’re eager to get cracking on it.
Thank you all again, including our union members. (This process is tough, but we’re grateful to all of you. We’re also eager to have you back soon.)
I hope you have excellent weekends