Communicative labor resistance practices: organizing digital news media unions and precarious work

Errol Salamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unionization among newsworkers has increased in the U.S. since 2015. This article develops a relational theoretical framework to examine communicative labor resistance practices. It is grounded in critical organizational communication, social movement studies, sociology of work, and labor studies, responding to how newsworkers’ union resistance has been undertheorized in extant journalism and media studies research. It argues that communicative labor resistance practices should be based on three propositions: a dialectical process and continual cycle of organizing unions’ resistance and exploitative precarious work; the relationship among heterogenous alternative digital communication labor resistance practices; and a relational approach to digitally-mediated communicative material conditions and discursive forms of resistance rhetoric in social movement genres of organizational communication that mutually co-produce and constitute unions’ resistance practices and organizational self structuring. This framework has implications for understanding precarious work, class, professional identity, and journalism’s democratic role in society, and for doing labor resistance-oriented communication research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-196
Number of pages11
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number4
Early online date28 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

Cite this