Following a six-day strike and four days of picketing in New York City, WGA East members have voted near-unanimously to ratify a new contract with G/O Media covering about 100 staffers at its digital news outlets Gizmodo, Jezebel, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku and Jalopnik.
The strike was settled when an agreement was reached on March 6.
“There is power in a union, power in collective action,” said Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director. “Some issues are worth taking risks for. Sometimes it is necessary to use the power of a strike. Our members reminded the company that their work creating the content is what creates value for the company. In withdrawing their labor, these members won real gains.”
The WGAE/Gizmodo Media Group bargaining committee said that “99% of the GMG Union voted to ratify the return-to-work agreement that raised wages for all union members, increased parental leave and minimum severance, required trans-inclusive health insurance, and beat back management’s attempt to control how we spoke about our working conditions. We were the first union in digital media to organize with the WGAE and the first to go on an open-ended strike. We won. We know our victory shows workers – and bosses – what is possible. Everyone deserves a union. We’ll never forget the unprecedented support shown to our members.”
According to the union, highlights of the three-year agreement include:
- Higher salary minimums for all positions, including $62,000 at the lowest tier in 2022 (up from $55,000), with an additional $1,000 each year for the life of the contract.
- Guaranteed 3% annual raises for all unit members.
- 15 weeks parental leave.
- 12 weeks minimum severance.
- Maintained current cost-sharing cap for healthcare.
- Trans-inclusive healthcare.
- Defeated management’s proposal to give up bargaining rights over changes to healthcare mid-contract.
- Diversity effort budget with audit and transparency.
- Goal of 40% of candidates at the hiring manager interview stage from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Retained right to publicly speak about working conditions, including social media escalation campaigns.
- Strengthened editorial independence language.
- Obtained guarantees against forced relocation for current remote staff.
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