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.

WGAE Meets with FCC Commissioner Copps

On Friday, December 3, a WGAE contingent met with Michael Copps, one of the five members of the Federal Communications Commission.  We discussed the consolidation of ownership of media companies, the downward financial pressures on broadcast news, and Net Neutrality.

Commissioner Copps has been a stalwart and articulate supporter of the rights of communities and creators in an environment dominated by powerful communications companies.  Read his most recent remarks here [PDF].

Representing the WGAE were President Michael Winship, Executive Director Lowell Peterson, Director of Communications Elana Levin, Director of Organizing Justin Molito, and Business Agent Geoff Betts.

WGA Adds New Honors to 2011 Awards Lineup

New York and Los Angeles –The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) today announced the first-ever WGA New Media Writing Awards. In recognition of the great talent and work being exhibited on a wide variety of new media platforms, awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media and Outstanding Achievement in Writing Derivative New Media will be presented at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.“Digital media is an exciting new stage for writers, a platform from which we can present our work instantly to the entire world. As we build and expand our presence there, the new awards recognize the opportunities digital media offers and celebrate the artistry and skill our members bring to it,” said WGAE President Michael Winship.“New media writers play an essential role in entertaining, educating, and engaging audiences in the digital arena. These new awards pay tribute to their talents and to the diversity of work being done under Writers Guild contracts,” said WGAW President John Wells.Submissions for the 2011 WGA New Media Writing Awards will be accepted beginning October 1, 2010, through November 23, 2010. WGA New Media Writing Award nominees will be announced on January 11, 2011. Eligibility requirements for the two new WGA New Media Writing Awards are as follows:

Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media:•    To be eligible for entry, an original stand-alone new media program or an original episode written for a new media series must have first been exhibited on a new media platform between 12/1/2009 and 11/30/2010. For this purpose, a new media platform is defined as the Internet (via a major video sharing site or unique URL), mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs, or any other established new media platform.•    The submission deadline is November 23, 2010, by 5:00 PM (EST/PST).•    Only work that was written and produced under a WGA collective bargaining agreement and for which the Guilds have determined the writing credits may be submitted. (In order for the Guilds to determine writing credits, and for a submission to be eligible, the signatory company must submit to the Guilds’ Credits Departments a Notice of Tentative Writing Credits.)•    Submissions will be accepted by mail or online. Submission information and submission forms will be available on the Guilds’ websites.•    Writers may include up to five episodes of a series in their submission. The award will be given to the credited writer(s) of the program/episode(s), not to the series.

Outstanding Achievement in Writing Derivative New Media: •    To be eligible for entry, a derivative stand-alone new media program or a derivative episode written for a new media series must have first been exhibited on a new media platform between 12/1/2009 and 11/30/2010.  For this purpose, a new media platform is defined as the Internet (via a major video sharing site or unique URL), mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs, or any other established new media platform.•    For this award, a derivative new media production is a production for new media based on an existing television motion picture that was produced for “traditional” media – e.g., a free television, basic cable, or pay television motion picture – and is otherwise included among the types of motion pictures traditionally covered by the MBA.•    The submission deadline is November 23, 2010, by 5:00 PM (EST/PST).•    Only work that was written and produced under a WGA collective bargaining agreement and for which the Guilds have determined the writing credits may be submitted. (In order for the Guilds to determine writing credits, and for a submission to be eligible, the signatory company must submit to the Guilds’ Credits Departments a Notice of Tentative Writing Credits [PDF].)•    Submissions will be accepted by mail or online. Submission information and submission forms will be available on the Guilds’ websites.•    Writers may include up to five episodes of a series in their submission. The award will be given to the credited writer(s) of the program/episode(s), not to the series.

Judging for the WGA New Media Writing Awards will be based strictly on written material. Preliminary and final round judging will be conducted by panels comprised of Writers Guild members selected for their experience in the new media genre.Further inquiries about the WGA New Media Writing Awards may be directed to Rebecca Olerich, WGAE Director of Programs and Events, at (212) 767-7835, email: rolerich@wgaeast.org or to WGAW Awards Administrator Jennifer Burt at (323) 782-4569, email:jburt@wga.org.The 2011 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, simultaneously in New York and in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. For more information about the 2011 Writers Guild Awards submission process, guidelines, and/or official entry forms, please visit www.wgaeast.org or www.wga.org.For media press inquiries about the 2011 Writers Guild Awards New York show, please contact Sherry Goldman in the WGAE Press Office at (718) 224-4133 or email:sherry@goldmanpr.net; or visit online at:www.wgaeast.org.For media inquiries about the 2011 Writers Guild Awards Los Angeles show, please contact Gregg Mitchell in the WGAW Communications Department at: (323) 782-4574, email: gmitchell@wga.org, or visit online at: www.wga.org.The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, West, visit www.wga.org.

Web Series Summer Camp is a Smash Hit!

“Can we do this every week?” asked workshop leader Timothy Cooper.

On the 28th, web series creators including  Mesh Flinders [Lonelygirl15], Kathleen Grace [The ‘Burg] and Martha Byrne  [Gotham], Josh Cohen the CIO of Tubefilter and many other experts came to the WGAE to lead a day of workshops for over 125 members and prospective members. Missed it? You can read reports from the panels on Twitter and check out our photos