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VICE Employees Unionize with the WGA East and Motion Picture Editors Guild
NEW YORK, NY (September 21, 2017) – VICE Media employees creating video content across the company’s media outlets have unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) and Motion Picture Editors Guild, Local 700 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, AFL-CIO (MPEG).
VICE’s decision to recognize the unions came after a third-party card check confirmed that a majority of the company’s content creators had signed cards with the WGAE and that a majority of the company’s Post-Production employees had signed cards with MPEG.
The company’s recognition of the WGAE and MPEG results in union representation for approximately 430 staff and freelance employees working on video content for VICE.com, the VICELAND cable channel, and VICE programming on HBO. In addition to these newly organized employees, WGAE already represents approximately one hundred journalists working on written content for VICE.com.
This past May Day, a delegation from the VICE Union Organizing Committee, on behalf of VICE employees organizing with WGAE, MPEG, and SAG-AFTRA, delivered a letter to management requesting the company honor their decision to unionize. VICE’s official recognition of the unions today marks the culmination of talks initiated in May after employees delivered that letter.
WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “VICE is at the forward edge of the media industry’s transformation. The WGAE knows it is essential for people who create content in this dynamic environment to have a seat at the table as the way the work is done – the way the content is made and distributed – continue to change. We have built a constructive relationship with VICE management and applaud the company for continuing to respect the right of its employees to engage in collective bargaining. The writers, editors, and others who work on VICE’s verticals unionized with the WGAE two years ago and negotiated a solid collective bargaining agreement that addresses their needs and advances their interests. Now, the people who write and produce video content for the web and programs for TV have unionized with the WGAE, and we will begin negotiating agreements that give them a voice on the job and address their concerns. We are particularly pleased to have worked closely with our sister unions, the Motion Picture Editors Guild/IATSE and the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), in this historic organizing effort.”
MPEG President Alan Heim, ACE said, “We’re proud to welcome aboard the post-production professionals whose talents and hard work helped build VICE into the news and entertainment juggernaut it has become. These craftspeople on the cutting edge of our industry have made clear that the future of work in this business is one in which traditional union values of mutual aid and solidarity remain vital. We salute VICE for offering a model of how responsible employers respect their employees’ desire for a voice on the job, instead of trying to squash workers’ organizing efforts. And we’re both proud and grateful to have arrived at today’s victory in partnership with our sister unions, The Writers Guild of America, East and SAG-AFTRA. This achievement shows what working people can accomplish together through alliances across craft and jurisdictional lines.”
The VICE Union Organizing Committee noted, “Today’s victory is a huge step for current and future employees at VICE who want to build power and influence at our place of work and throughout the industry. We join our previously-organized colleagues at VICE.com and our counterparts at VICE Canada, as well as news, digital media and nonfiction TV creators who have been empowered by the labor movement and successfully negotiated strong union contracts.”
“I commend the workers at VICE Media and VICELAND for overwhelmingly voting to join the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Writers Guild of America, East,” said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Today’s vote is a win for the hardworking men and women at VICE who, for the last year, have been fighting for a real voice at work, and the tools they need to build more stable, sustainable careers. Through this partnership, workers are showing their determination to stand together as one to fight for the rights, benefits, and wages they deserve.”
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.
ABOUT THE MOTION PICTURE EDITORS GUILD
The Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) is Local 700 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, AFL-CIO. Established in 1937, the Guild now represents roughly 8,000 postproduction professionals working nationwide in television, features, and new media. For more information on the Motion Picture Editors Guild, visit editorsguild.com.
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