Malcom Gladwell’s podcasting and audiobook company Pushkin Industries has voluntarily recognized its workers’ union.
Staffers at the cash-strapped company — which recently laid off dozens of employees — joined the Writers Guild of America East, the labor union announced on Thursday.
The union said it plans to commence talks with the company “as soon as possible” on a collective bargaining agreement.
Pushkin Industries produces hit podcasts like Gladwell’s “Revisionist History,” “The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos,” and “Against the Rules with Michael Lewis,” among other series.
Writers Guild of America East also represents workers at podcast-producing companies including Crooked Media, The Ringer and iHeart Podcast Network.
Pushkin’s union will initially include 10 staffers who work in the production, engineering and editorial departments.
Ariella Markowitz, a post production manager, told Bloomberg News that the initial membership would have been bigger had it not been for the company’s decision to lay off 30% of its workforce in September.
The successful unionization drive comes just days after it was reported that Gladwell had a tense exchange with staffers over diversity at the company.
Gladwell — the Canadian-Jamaican bestselling author of hit books such as “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers” — has also reportedly been at loggerheads with close friend Jacob Weisberg over strategy and finance.
At a February all-hands meeting with staffers, Gladwell ruffled feathers when he brought up the topic of ideological diversity — lamenting the fact that there weren’t enough Republicans employed by the company.
“My definition of diversity might be different from other people, but that’s part of diversity — allowing Malcolm to have a different definition of diversity than everyone else,” he told staffers, who were visibly uncomfortable over the tone of his remarks, according to Confider.
“Here’s a question: If you’re a Republican, raise your hand,” Gladwell reportedly told staffers.
When nobody raised their hand, Gladwell reportedly said: “I would think that a diverse company should have some Republicans in it.”
When irked staffers noted that there wasn’t enough diversity within the management structure, Gladwell, who is half black, told staffers in response: “Hello, I don’t count?”
Pushkin Industries was founded in 2018 by Gladwell and Weisberg, the former editor-in-chief of Slate.
According to Confider, Gladwell acknowledged to staffers that he and Weisberg “made mistakes” in helming the firm.
“I think we grew too fast. I think we lost sight of who we are and what we stand for,” Gladwell told staffers.
“I think we got a little blinded by some of the hype and craziness in our industry over the last couple of years.”
Weisberg was criticized within the company for failing to make a sufficiently strong offer to former “Seinfeld” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who spurned Pushkin in favor of rival Lemonada Media.
The Post has sought comment from Pushkin Industries.