ThinkProgress Employees Ratify Writers Guild of America, East Contract

WGAE TPNEW YORK, NY (July 25, 2016) – Writers Guild of America, East-represented editorial employees at ThinkProgress have unanimously ratified the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the Center for American Progress.

In the first year of the contract almost a third of the bargaining unit will receive increases of between 9% and 20%, and the average increase for the bargaining unit will be 6%. In addition to the very significant pay increases, the agreement includes provisions on just cause, editorial independence, severance pay, revenue sharing, preserving health benefits and paid time off.

Highlights from the first year of the contract include:

  • A guaranteed minimum salary of $45,000 for reporters and editors;
  • For bargaining unit members hired prior to January 1, 2014, a $5,000 raise (up to a maximum of $50,000);
  • For bargaining unit members earning up to $60,000 a year, a 2.5% raise;
  • For bargaining unit members earning between $60,000 and $110,000, a 2% raise;
  • guaranteed minimum salary of $36,000 for editorial assistants;
  • Revenue sharing equal to 1% of ThinkProgress’s 2015 ad revenue divided in equal dollar amounts among the bargaining unit;
  • An additional .5% of total ad revenue will be paid out at CAP’s discretion as a merit-based bonus (but this will have no effect on other merit-based increases that CAP may provide)

The contract also includes:

  • Paid Family Leave: Bargaining unit members will receive 12 weeks paid leave if they have a child, whether through birth or adoption.
  • Editorial Independence: Editorial decisions will rest with either the Editor-in-Chief or with their designee (normally a senior editor) within ThinkProgress’ editorial staff.
  • Job Security: Bargaining unit members may only be terminated for just cause; for issues involving work product, that is, posts that go up on ThinkProgress, CAP must provide notice and an opportunity to improve. Anyone laid off will receive severance pay.
  • Health Benefits: The contract provides that CAP must continue to pay the same percentage of the health benefit premiums that it currently pays; If CAP decides to change plans, it must use best efforts to find a substantially similar plan; if it cannot, it must sit down with the Guild to negotiate any changes;
  • 401(k): CAP will continue to provide the 401(k) with automatic 3% Employer Contribution and 2% Profit Sharing to bargaining unit employees.
  • Paid Time Off: Bargaining unit members will continue to receive the same amounts of paid time off for the duration of the contract unless CAP increases the amount of PTO during the term of the agreement.

“This collective bargaining agreement is a testament to the power of content creators who organize in a digital workplace,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East.  “The ThinkProgress union bargaining committee came to the table with a set of reasonable demands; and we are pleased that an agreement was reached that reflects their values and worth.” Peterson thanked the committee and WGAE Business Representative Jeff Schioppa for leading the negotiations.

ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.

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