Converging Media Unions: A Labor History of Newsworkers in a Predigital Age

Errol Salamon


Media workers in journalism have unionized in record numbers in the United States and Canada since 2015, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. To better understand how and why they organize, this article surveys and critically evaluates literature on journalism and labor histories of newsworkers’ trade union formation in the United States and Canada. Accordingly, it reimagines the concept and processes of labor convergence: the merging of workers’ unions across crafts, industries, and countries, uniting organized and unorganized workers. This article argues for two key propositions. First, labor convergence should be examined from a long historical perspective to better understand its evolution as a process. Second, labor convergence should also be understood as an ideology, encompassing a set of values that go beyond the nature of union-organizing processes. This article contributes a new framework to periodize labor convergence, divergence, and reconvergence between 1865 and 1997. It also outlines a conceptualization of a craft-oriented industrial unionism ideology, articulating how labor convergence has aimed to decrease the level of separation among workers.


convergence, digital journalism, journalism history, labor, political economy, unions

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