Vice Canada applies to unionize with Canadian Media Guild

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) has formally applied to represent workers for Vice Canada.

CMG must demonstrate 40% of Vice Canada workers have signed a union card to qualify

Shane Smith, founder and CEO of VICE, speaks at the PromaxBDA #WTFuture Conference in New York, on June 10, 2014. (John Minchillo/AP for PromaxBDA)

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) has formally applied to represent workers for Vice Canada.

The workers want to form a union in the editorial, marketing and production/post-production departments of the media company founded in Montreal in 1994, now a multi-billion dollar organization based in Brooklyn, New York.

"We've heard from creative and digital media workers that they want fair pay, benefits, and sustainable working conditions," Martin O'Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, the CMG's parent union, said in a release. "The decision by Vice Canada staff to unionize is a first step to a better life for them and it is a beacon for others to follow."

To successfully apply for Vice to be unionized, CMG must prove to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) that 40 per cent of the company's Canadian workers have signed a union card.

Want better salaries, benefits

Vice employees began the unionizing process in December, and listed better salaries and benefits, for both full-time and contract workers, along with more transparency and communication between management and employees, among their objectives.

Can VICE shake up old-fashioned broadcast TV in the same way they did online writing? Joining Shad on today's Pop Culture Panel are Chatelaine editor-at-large Rachel Giese, Esquire columnist Stephen Marche and Filmmaker Charles Officer. 5:05

Vice Canada has 35 operations in Canada, including offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. It launched a specialty TV network, Viceland, in February.

The move is the latest in a series of online-first media organizations unionizing, including the Huffington Post, Gawker and Salon.

VICE's American employees joined the Writers Guild of America East in 2015, and its U.K. employees are seeking union recognition with the National Union of Journalists.

The Canadian Media Guild represents 6,000 workers in Canadian media, including CBC and the Canadian Press.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.