Politico Denies Unionizing Effort Was Behind Reporter's Departure

The company says remaining staff members are free to organize.

NEW YORK -- Politico confirmed Thursday that labor reporter Mike Elk is no longer with the company and said his efforts to unionize the newsroom were not the reason for his departure in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

"Mike Elk no longer works at POLITICO," the statement read. "As a long-standing company policy, we do not and will not comment on the specifics of personnel matters. We can say that Mike Elk's recent departure has nothing to do with his union activities. POLITICO employees have been, and continue to be, free to engage in or refrain from union activities."

The Huffington Post reported Monday that Elk appeared to no longer work at Politico, though the reporter did not confirm his status with the company. "I’m a union organizer," Elk said at the time. "I’m going to go wherever digital media workers need to unionize. I’m going to do whatever I can. The story really isn’t about me."

Bruce Jett, a Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild representative handling questions for Elk, released a statement Thursday claiming the reporter was still employed at Politico.

"Mike Elk is an associate member of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild through the national guild, and he is a labor reporter for Politico, and he is on vacation until Sept. 1,” it read.

Politico's statement was released Thursday amid questions from The European Federation of Journalists about Elk's status with the company.

Elk, who wrote last week about experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his labor reporting, had previously spoken publicly about health issues that kept him out of the newsroom. Elk, who was hired in September, has spent little time in the Politico office this year, and has had few stories published.

Though Elk is allowing a union rep to field questions about his employment status, he' publicly discussing other aspects of Politico, including in a Thursday interview with New York magazine. He predicted Politico will unionize in a year or two.

This story has been updated to include comments from Elk's union representative and information about his magazine interview.

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