Workers at Secretly Group, Secretly Distribution, Secretly Publishing, Numero Group, and Ghostly International are forming a union. In a statement requesting voluntary recognition from Secretly Group partners and senior management, the Secretly Group Union outlined their reasons for organizing with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU Local 174). “Our enthusiasm for the culture in which we work can lead to exploitation in ways endemic to the creative industries: poor wages, inadequate benefits, lack of work/life boundaries, gatekeeping that obstructs professional development, and an absence of initiatives that address systemic race and gender inequality.” Read the full statement below.
The Secretly Group includes the independent labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and Dead Oceans. In an article by Kim Kelly for Rolling Stone, workers—all of whom requested anonymity for concern of retaliation—spoke in depth about the issues their workplace faces. “So many of us had been trying to bring up these issues and solve them individually, and they were not being heard,” said one organizing committee member. “There was a point where you think, what are the alternatives here? What is our other option other than to come together and collectively advocate for ourselves, and to make sure that we have the backing and the power to do so?”
In its mission statement, the union criticized the company for “performative allyship,” which they wrote “is not enough when the voices of our most vulnerable employees—people of color, women and gender non conforming staff—have become increasingly marginalized.”