Pineapple Street Studios Workers Successfully Unionize After Card Check

Pineapple Street Studios Workers Successfully Unionize After Card Check

Workers at podcast firm Pineapple Street Studios have successfully unionized after a card check determined that a majority supported organizing with the Writers Guild of America East.

The company, behind breakout titles including Missing Richard Simmons and The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow, voluntarily recognized a 42-member bargaining unit after an independent arbitrator administered the card check. Writers, producers, editors, engineers and others are included in the union, whose next step will be to negotiate a contract with management. The Writers Guild announced the news, which was confirmed by Audacy, the studio’s parent company, on Wednesday.

Related Stories

“We are so proud to have won voluntary recognition from management at Pineapple and Audacy. This victory is a direct result of months of hard work and dedication to building solidarity across our organization,” Pineapple Street Union said in a statement. “We’re excited to carry this momentum forward into a collaborative bargaining phase, focused on pay and protections, accountability, consistency and unity at the company.”

An Audacy spokesperson added in a statement that the company is “immensely proud” of the Pineapple Street Studios team. “We recognized the team’s desire to organize and quickly moved to acknowledge this process,” the spokesperson added. “We look forward to working with the WGA on a fair contract that will allow Pineapple Street to continue telling exceptional stories and delighting listeners for years to come.”

Workers went public with their intent to unionize in a letter to management on Oct. 4. The letter criticized the downstream effects of Audacy’s 2019 acquisition of Pineapple Street Studios for a reported $18 million, saying that after the sale staffers saw “pandemic-related pay cuts without restitution; a lack of protections around potential economic downturn; and an inability to offer appropriate cost-of-living increases.” The letter requested voluntary recognition and stated that staffers hoped to address diversity, equity and inclusion, benefits issues and company transparency with a contract.

Pineapple Street Studios staffers will now join workers at Audacy-owned WCBS, WBBM and KNX as members of the WGA East. The union also represents workers at podcast production companies iHeartPodcast Network, Gimlet Media, Parcast and The Ringer in collective bargaining.

“We’re very pleased that Pineapple and Audacy have moved quickly and respectfully in this voluntary recognition process,” the union added in its statement. “We hope that this not only sets the tone for our upcoming bargaining process, but also sets an example for leaders across our industry – that working with employees to achieve more equitable workplaces can and should be a collaborative and straightforward experience on both sides of the table.”

Nov. 16, 10:20 a.m. Updated with Audacy statement.