Q-The agreement the company proposed has the following wording. they said that I do not have to sign an agreement at all. If I do not sign anything with them is it implied that they own the copyright or does the partner (me) retain rights to my work? 
Excerpt from agreement: Copyright: Company and Partner acknowledge and agree that Company has specially ordered and commissioned Partner’s contributions, which is and shall be considered work made for hire within the meaning of the Copyright Revision Act of 1976. Company will be the sole owner and proprietor of the copyright in and to the work in the United States and throughout the world. Partner agrees to execute any documents Company considers necessary to effectuate this agreement.

A-While I generally agree with the answers posted so far, I’d like to add one thing. A work for hire isn’t really a transfer of ownership. What it essentially means is that you work for the company and are writing it on their behalf. Most importantly, the company- not you, is considered the “author.”
With online publications, where monetization models aren’t really worked out so getting credit and visibility is often most important to authors (since the money isn’t quite there yet). So with a transfer of a written work (or a work for hire), the company doesn’t even owe you the right of attribution- to put your name on it and give you credit for your work (unless the contract says otherwise). Unless this falls within some kind of collective bargaining agreement, which it doesn’t sound like, the language you quoted will mean that they can legally slap anyone’s name on it. ( note- visual works DO have protection for the right of attribution). So it would be important to at least modify that if credit is important to you aside from actual ownership of your work.

Also, as a work for hire, you won’t ever have your lawful right to terminate the copyright transfer to the publication and reclaim your work after 35 years (this is a right granted by the 1978 copyright act). That probably doesn’t concern you much right now but it is something to remember.