The mayor might not like to take questions from the press — but he does believe they have the right to join a union.
De Blasio was among nearly two dozen city officials who signed a letter Thursday in support of reporters at two popular local websites who are fighting to get management to recognize their recent union vote.
“We support the editorial staff of DNAinfo and Gothamist as they exercise their right to unionize,” the letter said.
“The work of these reporters and editors is crucial for NYC. We call on management to respect their democratic right to organize and immediately recognize their union,” it concluded.
Along with the mayor, it was signed by Public Advocate Letitia James, City Controller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and another 20 City Council members from around the city.
Journalists at Gothamist and DNAinfo voted April 11 to become members of Writers Guild of America East.
The labor push came after the sites were merged when DNAinfo’s billionaire owner Joe Ricketts also purchased Gothamist.
Layoffs at DNAinfo soon followed — ramping up concerns in both newsrooms that reporters get more work protections.
“We are releasing this letter because we want to show the amount of support that we have,” said DNAinfo reporter Noah Hurowitz.
“We announced our desire to be recognized over a month ago and in that time it hasn’t happened,” he said.
Hurowitz said that despite Rickett’s non-response, WGAE, he and the other journalists at Gothamist and DNAinfo were confident all sides could forge an accord.
“Mr. Ricketts wants a strong newsroom, and we all want to be strong newsrooms — the best newsroom in New York City,” he said.
“The best way to protect the newsrooms we love is to give the editorial workers at DNAinfo and Gothamist a seat at the table,” Hurowitz noted.
Ricketts could not immediately be reached for comment.
But when news of his employees’ initial efforts to organize reached management, the response was unenthusiastic.
“At some point, the business needs to be profitable or the investor calls it quits,” Dan Swartz, the company’s chief operating officer, wrote in an email to DNAinfo reporters a day before the official WGAE vote.
“Would a union be the final straw that caused the business to be closed? I don’t know,” he wrote, noting that DNAinfo lost money every month since it was formed in 2009.