Secretly Group, the record label collective which includes Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans, Numero Group and Ghostly International, as well as Secretly Distribution and Secretly Publishing, has voluntarily recognized the new Secretly Group Union. The label states that the decision to recognize the union is informed by the company’s core values and adds that they are “confident that this is a positive step” for both the company and the entire record label industry.
“Just as we work to empower our artist and label partners, we want to empower our employees: collaboratively, openly, in full recognition of our competing priorities and our shared goals, both,” Secretly Group announced. Continuing, they add that this step towards employee empowerment is a welcomed opportunity for partnership.
From the Secretly partners, recognizing @secretlyunion.
Big love and congrats to Secretly Group Union and the Secretly family for this bold, important step — for this organization and hopefully for this industry. pic.twitter.com/2pDEqqJZh8
— Secretly Canadian (@secretlycndian) March 25, 2021
Secretly Group Union cited “the rights of our staff and the health of our workplace” as the key reasons for unionizing and said in a public statement that they are “committed to building a truly inclusive, progressive and ethical work environment.” They write, “Working in the music industry is not an easy way to support oneself for the majority of people; this is the case for both artists and those working behind the scenes. 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.”
We are forming Secretly Group Union because we love the work we do and the music we share with the world. We are committed to building a truly inclusive, progressive and ethical work environment to guarantee a better music industry for all.https://t.co/YtvkHobPl0 pic.twitter.com/uaS6L13mrm
— Secretly Group Union (@secretlyunion) March 23, 2021
In response to these complaints, Secretly Group added, “Every company has room to improve, but it is always difficult to hear that there are people within the company who are unhappy, that there are issues that may be unaddressed or out of view.” They hope that this change will be a “bellwether for the industry” so that they can all continue to share the music and culture they love with the world.
Rolling Stone magazine’s Kim Kelly spoke with the union representatives about their unionization, to which one worker replied, “So many of us had been trying to bring up these issues and solve them individually, and they were not being heard. 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 power to do so?”
BREAKING: Secretly Group has voluntarily recognized the @secretlyunion! Statement from the organizing committee below, plus my @RollingStone story on why they’re organizing: https://t.co/H9SXKrdVqL pic.twitter.com/hWLUT4ERq3
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) March 25, 2021
If Secretly Group hadn’t voluntarily recognized the union, Secretly Group Union would have had to take the case to the National Labor Relations Board for consideration. The union is represented by OPEIU Local 147, which also represents unions at Universal Music Group, Disney, Comcast Universal Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, WarnerBrothers, Sony Studios and Fox Studios.