Thrillist Staff Overwhelmingly Vote In Favor of Strike Authorization

91% of the bargaining unit voted in favor of authorizing a strike following a unit-wide Day of Action held at the at the Writers Guild of America, East

New York, NY (August 13, 2018) – Members of the Thrillist Union with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) voted today to authorize a strike after meeting at the WGAE office for a Day of Action rather than reporting to work. 91% voted in favor of the strike authorization.

The staff of Thrillist announced that they were unionizing with the WGAE in February 2017, and voted to unionize in an online election in March 2017. Thrillist has now been in negotiations for their first union contract for over a year, but Group Nine – the parent company of Thrillist – has yet to agree to a contract which includes livable salary minimums and fair annual increases. The Day of Action and strike authorization vote took place as members of the 60-person bargaining unit debated open issues, including minimum salary ranges, annual increases, and severance.

The staff’s bargaining committee announced the Day of Action this morning in a statement posted to the Thrillist Union twitter account:

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said “At its core, collective bargaining is about building power: people in a particular bargaining unit standing together, becoming part of a bigger union with more members and more resources, figuring out which issues are most important and most worth fighting for.  With today’s strike authorization vote, the WGAE-represented employees at Thrillist are exercising that power; they know that it’s worth it to fight for a contract that meets their real needs. And the whole union stands with them.

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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Talking Points Memo editorial staff has unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East

Talking Points Memo Unionizes with the Writers Guild of America, East

NEW YORK, NY (May 10, 2018)—The editorial staff of Talking Points Memo (TPM) have unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Management immediately recognized the Guild as the collective bargaining representative of the political news organization’s 11-member staff.

“This morning TPM editorial staffers in New York and Washington DC contacted me to let me know that they’d agreed unanimously to form a union and asked me to voluntarily recognize their decision. I replied that I was happy to do so. Our representative has already reached out to the WGA to make that agreement a reality,” said Josh Marshall, owner of Talking Points Memo, in an email to Talking Points Memo staff. “TPM is an independent, ambitious, outsider news organization. We have always strived to espouse and embody a belief in creating a society that is more equitable, just, humane and free. I believe this morning’s decision is consistent with those values and that history. I look forward to working together with the TPM Union to build on what we’ve already created together.”

The Talking Points Memo Union Organizing Committee said, “We are thrilled that management agreed so quickly to voluntarily recognize our union. Unions are becoming standard across online publications, particularly progressive ones, and it’s important to us to stand in solidarity with that movement. We’ve also seen the benefits and protections that come with unionizing, and we’re hopeful that forming a union will make TPM an even stronger digital media company. As TPM continues to grow as a publication, we want a seat at the table to help determine the company’s future, and we’re excited to work with management on the next steps in this process.”

WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “We applaud the progressive management at Talking Points Memo for respecting the decision of the writers and editors to join with the Writers Guild of America, East and we look forward to a positive, productive experience at the bargaining table.  And we welcome these hard-working journalists to the union and to the movement.”

In addition to TPM, the WGAE represents digital-first editorial and video staffs at The Dodo, Thrillist, Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, VICE, The Intercept, 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, 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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WGA East to Livestream from Vox Media’s First Union Bargaining Session

Writers Guild of America East
WGA East to Livestream from Vox Media’s First Union Bargaining Session

NEW YORK, NY (APRIL 10, 2018) – In an act of transparency, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) will livestream the Vox Media Bargaining Committee’s caucus meeting prior to its very first collective bargaining session with management on Wednesday, April 11th at 1:30pm EST.

The livestream will be broadcast on the Vox Media Bargaining Committee’s twitter account at @Vox_Union. In addition, Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, will be tweeting insights on collective bargaining during the livestream on the Guild’s account at @WGAEast.

The livestream will provide unprecedented access into the collective bargaining process and showcase what gains could be achieved through joining a union. At the caucus meeting, Guild staff and members of the Vox Media Bargaining Committee located in New York and Washington, D.C. will review important issues that will be discussed at the bargaining table, including editorial independence, company transparency, job protection and inclusion and equity.

In January, Vox Media agreed to recognize the WGAE as the collective bargaining representative of approximately 400 creative professionals employed at its eight verticals – Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SBNation, The Verge and Vox.com – and Video Services.

Executive Director Peterson said, “Collective bargaining is about building power in the workplace and engaging people in the decisions that affect their work lives and careers. By live streaming its initial caucus the Vox Media Bargaining Committee demonstrates the importance of engagement and transparency. This is a great way to get negotiations off to a powerful start.”

The Vox Media Bargaining Committee said, “Livestreaming our Vox Media Union caucus on the first day of collective bargaining is a way to ensure our union remains transparent. We’ve worked hard to build strength and unity across Vox Media’s eight verticals and video services to guarantee a seat at the negotiating table. Our union gives us the opportunity to look out for each other, and we want to our coworkers and the broader community to see what we’re accomplishing.”

The WGAE has organized over 1,000 content creators in the digital news industry since 2015. In addition to Vox Media, the WGAE represents digital news staffs at Onion Inc. (The Onion, A/V Club, ClickHole), HuffPost, VICE, The Intercept, Gizmodo Media Group (Splinter, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik, Earther), ThinkProgress, MTV News, Thrillist and Slate.

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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Slate Employees Vote to Unionize with Writers Guild of America, East

Slate Employees Vote to Unionize with Writers Guild of America, East

NEW YORK, NY (January 23, 2018) — A majority of employees at Slate, a news website which has been a fixture in the digital media industry for over twenty years, voted today in favor of the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) as their representative in collective bargaining.

Slate’s management agreed to recognize the union after a vote confirmed that the majority of eligible employees voted in favor of unionizing via a third-party election.

The organizing win at Slate comes two weeks after Vox Media recognized the WGAE as the union representative for their editorial and video staff. Over 1,000 digital news staff members have joined the WGAE in the last two and a half years.

In addition to Slate and Vox Media (Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SBNation, The Verge and Vox.com), the Guild represents staffs at VICE, HuffPost, The Intercept, Gizmodo Media Group (Splinter, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik, Earther), ThinkProgress, MTV News, Thrillist and Salon.

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said “Employees at Slate, one of the first and finest digital-native news organizations in the country, have made themselves heard, resounding in their decision to join the movement for collective bargaining across the industry. We look forward to working together to craft a contract that addresses their concerns and ensures that they participate in the decisions that affect their professional lives.”

“We’re thrilled by the result of today’s vote, and grateful that Slate management agreed to let us conduct it in an independent and fair fashion,” said the Slate Union Organizing Committee in a statement. “This vote confirms that an overwhelming majority of Slate employees want to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East—and that they want the benefits and protections that come from union membership. As we wrote in our “Why We’re Organizing” letter more than 10 months ago, we’re all proud to work for Slate, and we believe that unionizing will help us ensure that it is the best possible place to work. We’re excited we’ll now have the chance to do just that.”

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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Vox Media Unionizes with WGA East

Vox Media Unionizes with the Writers Guild of America, East

NEW YORK, NY (January 11, 2018) – In a move that demonstrates the essential role of unions and collective bargaining in the world of digital news, Vox Media has agreed to recognize the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) as the collective bargaining representative of approximately 400 creative professionals employed on its eight verticals. Approximately 1000 content creators in the digital news industry have won bargaining rights with the WGAE since 2015.

Vox Media is a digital media company known for progressive coverage of news, technology, sports and lifestyle across its eight verticals – Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SBNation, The Verge and Vox.com. Management’s recognition of its editorial and video staff’s decision to unionize with the WGAE is the latest in a series of organizing successes in the digital media industry, and makes Vox Media the first major digital media company to recognize its employees’ union in 2018.

“The content creators at Vox Media have stood strong together throughout this process, insisting that their right to bargain collectively be respected,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “We are as proud of their solidarity as we are of the important work they do for a living, and we welcome them to the Writers Guild of America, East. We look forward to sitting down with Vox Media’s progressive management to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that reflects the unit’s needs and aspirations and that ensures they continue to have a voice on the job.”

In a statement, the Vox Media Union Organizing Committee said, “We’re thrilled that Vox Media has chosen to recognize the Vox Media Union and our decision to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East. The company’s decision affirms what we have known since the start of our campaign: Across eight verticals, our colleagues overwhelmingly want the benefits and protections that come from union membership.

Through voluntary recognition, Vox Media has joined the growing ranks of digital media companies that understand the necessity of unions to secure basic protections for those of us who work in an always-evolving industry. As we wrote in our “Why We’re Organizing” letter three months ago, a union will give us the means to maintain what we love about working for this company, and to have a collective voice when we address anything that may change.

We’re proud to work for a company that places quality, inclusivity, collaboration, and respect among its core values. We formed the Vox Media Union because we believe that the best way to champion those values is to unionize, and we’ll continue to champion those values at the bargaining table as new members of the Writers Guild of America, East.

In addition to Vox Media, the Writers Guild of America, East represents digital news staffs at VICE, HuffPost, The Intercept, Gizmodo Media Group (Splinter, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, The Root, Lifehacker, Kotaku, io9, Jalopnik, Earther), ThinkProgress, MTV News, Thrillist and Salon.

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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WGAE Digital Caucus Visits YouTube NextLab Studios in NYC

On June 10, 2013, members of the WGAE Digital Caucus visited the YouTube NextLab studios located in the Flatiron District for an informative content-creation workshop. Chris Chan Roberson, Studio Manager/Lead Producer of YouTube’s NYC studio, introduced WGAE members  to YouTube’s various resources and programs. Highlights included a tour of production facilities, stages and editing bays, as well as an introduction to YouTube’s residency program and tips on maximizing audiences for new-media projects. If you are interested in attending a similar event in the future, please email Ursula Lawrence at .

WGAE Applauds Expanded Digital Media Up-Fronts

The Writers Guild of America, East applauds the co-sponsors of the expanded Digital Content NewFronts (DCNF), which will be presented in New York from April 19 to May 3.

Modeled on the traditional television industry “up fronts,” the DCNFs offer digital-content creators and distributors the opportunity to market their work and their services to online advertisers. (DCNF co-sponsors include Hulu, AOL, Microsoft Advertising, Digitas, Yahoo! and Google/YouTube.)Click here to continue reading…

Web Series Pitch Competition a Hit

“I learned that a lot of people love writing about hipsters from Williamsburg. They’re like the new gay best friend,” observed the host of our first pitching competition, comedian Wayne Federman (writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). Members pitched their web series ideas to digital media experts at our fast-paced and friendly competition. Pitches were judged by a panel of prominent digital entertainment professionals  – Rob Barnett, Founder and CEO of MyDamnChannel.com, Josh Cohen, Co-Founder Tubefilter.tv  and Jeremy Redleaf (hit webseries Odd Jobs).  The winning pitch was from John Capo for his new webseries The RA’s.

All participants got feedback and ideas for branding and monetization for their shows. Lead organizer Ursula Lawrence said the event was designed to be a “fun, interactive and educational event that should inspire writers to get started on their own digital projects and help those that are already on the way.” Winner John Capo said “The event helped demystify aspects of the pitching process and was meaningful on a number of levels. Winning was the icing on the cake.”

Check out photos of the event here.

Art and Commerce Meet at Digital Roundtable

On February 16, two dozen people gathered around the WGAE conference table to talk about digital media.  People who commission and distribute digital programming, people who create it, and people who want to apply their storytelling skills in this new world.  The conversation was robust and wide-ranging.  Several participants offered detailed pointers on how to get hired to create brand-sponsored work.  Others described similarities between the digital media business and early television (e.g., there was no money in TV at first, either). 

This roundtable was part of the WGAE’s digital media education program.  We wanted to learn about the needs and experiences of people from public relations and ad agencies, and from channels and networks that commission and distribute original content on-line.  We also wanted folks on the business side (many of whom are also creators) to hear from members about the value that skilled storytellers bring to programs.  We had members who work in public television, news, comedy/variety, sit-com and episodic television, feature film, and web TV.  Of course, many members work in several of these; e.g., playwrights who write for cable or network shows and who create internet programs for the love of it.  Members want to figure out how the new business models and career paths will work. 

For years entertainment unions have been integrated into the process of media production – from the way deals are done to the way movie sets are organized. The business of making content for the internet and for mobile devices has been described as the “brave new world” and the “wild west”, and digital media are a long way from the maturity of television and film.  Our goal at the WGAE is to ensure that writers participate actively as the contours and styles and money flows of digital media are developed.

MBA Pattern of Demands 2011

Download the Pattern of Demands for the 2011 MBA Negotiation.

Voting Deadline January 24.