Last month, when Viacom’s contract workers and freelancers learned that their benefits were getting the ax, their cause found an unlikely ally: Gawker.com. Perhaps in search of some karmic equilibrium following the revelation of its own questionable labor practices (see Sarah Pumroy’s post on the site’s new pay-per-page-view system), Gawker went to bat for Viacom workers by posting fliers for a Dec. 10 walkout on its website. Gawker—known for its witty, often offensive take on the news—even offered a serious, albeit patently snarky, analysis of the situation, including a look at the ins and outs of freelancing.
In an article for the Nation, Anya Kamenetz discusses Viacom’s reliance on non-union freelancers—who often contribute as much as their salaried counterparts—and the myriad ways the media behemoth maintains its bottom line at their expense. But things may be looking up: A few days after the walkout, Viacom announced additional healthcare options for some workers.