#EbonyOwes agreement: Black writers’ and union diligence reverses magazine’s economic abuse
People with more bargaining power getting over on people with less status remains too prevalent in the workplace. Apparently, some people believe that today’s professionals, who often work remotely and via technology, are not entitled to the contractual stability of timely pay despite their timely production. This individual versus industry tension bears itself out in curious ways.
The “gig economy” that Jia Tolentino critiqued in the New Yorker is an industry of maximum output and personal risk by individuals who hope to boost big brands’ bottom lines enough to ratchet up their individual work status. Consider this alongside Zora Neale Hurston’s characterization of Black women as the “mules” of the Earth, human beings whose workloads can purportedly never be too heavy.
This contextualizes how Black legacy brand Ebony Magazine’s leadership de-prioritized paying mostly Black independent contractors for years. But this is a business practice that lawyers, diligent writers and the National Writers Union reversed through a recently announced settlement agreement.
Under the agreement’s terms, more than 40 writers whose work Ebony magazine retained, used and profited from will finally be paid. The nearly $75,000 remaining will disburse quarterly to the writers, as The Root reported. Further, the agreement establishes a payment priority so that writers whose work has been unpaid the longest will be paid first. The deadline for full payment of all outstanding named writers’ payment is December 28, 2018.