The Intercept Ratifies First Union Contract with Landmark Diversity Provisions

NEW YORK, NY (JULY 25, 2018) – The editorial staff at The Intercept, the investigative journalism digital news site founded by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, unanimously ratified its first Guild contract with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE).

The three-year collective bargaining agreement includes a first-of-its kind diversity provision, known as the WGAE-Intercept Rule, that ensures at least two candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in journalism (i.e., women, people of color, or those identifying as LGBTQ+) will be interviewed for any vacant bargaining unit position not being created for a specific candidate or for purposes of promoting an existing bargaining unit employee.

The contract also creates a Diversity Committee of both bargaining unit members and editorial management that will meet quarterly to discuss, assist and partner with Human Resources and management on current and potential diversity and inclusion initiatives at The Intercept with regard to recruitment, selection, retention, mentorship, and advancement, as well as diversity and inclusion issues related to editorial coverage. The committee will also discuss and make recommendations with respect to the use of resources budgeted for such initiatives.

The Intercept further agreed to conduct an annual demographic survey providing newsroom employees an anonymous opportunity to self-identify with respect to, among other things, race/ethnicity, national background, educational background, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and creed. The report will be provided to the Union.

In addition to these provisions on diversity and inclusion, the contract makes real gains in pay, reuse of members’ work, paid time off, and more.  This agreement will ensure true transparency and fairness in the way people are hired, paid and promoted. Highlights of the contract include:

  • Meaningful pay increases for all employees, particularly those who are currently at or below median pay.
  • A new system of pay tiers based on job classifications with guidance (and annual discussions with supervisors) on how to advance.
  • Four months’ paid leave for all parents (birth, adoption, or foster).
  • Just cause for termination (with notice and opportunity to improve for employees who fail to meet editorial standards), plus significant severance pay.
  • Extensive provisions on reuse of employees’ work (including payment if the company creatives new work derived from employees’ work).

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “The union bargaining committee worked diligently and intelligently to translate employees’ concerns and aspirations into substantial gains in the collective bargaining agreement.  This hard work, plus thoughtful and diligent work by management’s representatives, have led to a very strong first contract that addresses diversity and inclusion, transparency and fairness in pay and job duties, and meaningful ongoing engagement in workplace decisions.”

Betsy Reed, Editor-in-Chief of The Intercept, said, “We’re pleased to have a collective bargaining agreement that provides such excellent benefits to our employees and ensures that The Intercept will remain a great place to work and produce journalism.  This expansive and progressive agreement reflects the core values of our organization, including a robust commitment to diversity in our newsroom. We’re grateful to the leadership of the WGA-East and The Intercept employees who collaborated with The Intercept’s leadership team and First Look Media to create this landmark contract.”

The Intercept bargaining committee added, “We at The Intercept are proud of the work our unit has done to get this contract ratified. We believe it sets valuable precedents for other digital media workers seeking fair treatment from their employers. In this time when the bedrock principles of our profession as well as the right to union representation itself are under attack, we hope our success encourages other outlets to organize alongside us and our fellow WGAE shops.”

In addition to The Intercept, the WGAE represents digital-first editorial and video staffs at Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, VICE, Fast Company, The Dodo, Thrillist, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate and Gizmodo Media Group.

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, news and digital media. 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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