Arianna Huffington, founder and publisher of The Huffington Post, experienced a significant backlash this week after the Newspaper Guild threw its support behind a strike convened by unpaid contributors to The Huffington Post.
Arianna Huffington has long espoused the virtues of the American working class, however this week her political and philosophical fortitude appeared to be put to the test after Huffington Post's unpaid contributors staged a strike.
On Wednesday, the Newspaper Guild furthered the cause of the disgruntled Huffington Post writers, throwing Guild support behind the contributors' strike.
"The Newspaper Guild is calling on unpaid writers of the Huffington Post to withhold their work in support of a strike launched by Visual Art Source in response to the company’s practice of using unpaid labor," the Newspaper Guild posted on their site. "In addition, we are asking that our members and all supporters of fair and equitable compensation for journalists join us in shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company."
The Newspaper Guild claims 26,000 members and is affiliated with the powerful Communications Workers of America union.
“Just as we would ask writers to stand fast and not cross a physical picket line, we ask that they honor this electronic picket line,” the Guild posted.
“This is about supporting the quality and integrity of a vehicle for progressive expression, to actually help Huffington Post succeed, but on the right terms,” wrote the Guild. “We call on Arianna Huffington to demonstrate her commitment to the working class she so ardently champions in her writing.”
In a call to action email template designed by the Newspaper Guild, Arianna Huffington's personal fortune, a direct result of the AOL acquisition, was addressed.
AOL agreed to purchase The Huffington Post in early February for $315 million. According to a report in CNN Money, Huffington Post sales are expected to reach $50 million in 2011.
"After building a media empire based on unpaid writers and republishing the work of others, the Huffington Post was sold to AOL for $315 million," the Newspaper Guild wrote. "We are calling on Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington to invest in quality journalism by sharing a portion of this fortune with the people who made her successful."
A Facebook Page has been set up called the Union of Huffington Post Writers and Bloggers. It's attracted 4,570 members so far.