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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2019 Writers Guild Awards: Media Timeline

2019 WRITERS GUILD AWARDS

New York and Los Angeles – The 2019 Writers Guild Awards (71ST Annual) will be presented at concurrent ceremonies on Sunday, February 17, 2019, in New York and Los Angeles. The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news, radio, videogame, promotional, and graphic animation categories.

2018-2019 WGA MEDIA TIMELINE

2018

OCTOBER

Fri. Oct. 19                  Deadline for submissions: Drama / Comedy / New Series; TV-Radio/Audio-New Media Scripts and Paul Selvin Award

NOVEMBER

Thu. Nov. 1                 Preliminary Series online voting begins

Fri. Nov. 16                 Deadline for submissions: Theatrical + Documentary Screenplays and Videogames

Mon. Nov. 26              Deadline for Preliminary Series online voting

DECEMBER

Thu. Dec. 6                Television, New Media, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominations Announced

Fri. Dec. 7                   Preliminary Screenplay online voting begins

2019

JANUARY

Thu. Jan. 3                  Deadline for Preliminary Screenplay online voting

Mon. Jan. 7                Theatrical + Documentary Screenplay and Videogame Nominations Announced

Tue. Jan. 8                  Final Screenplay and Series online voting begins

Thur. Jan. 10 –             The Contenders: Writers Guild Award-nominated films screening series

Fri. Jan. 18                  Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills

Jan. TBA                     “And the Nominees Are…”: Writers Guild Award TV and New Media nominee panels – Venue: NYC (TBA)

Thu. Jan. 31                Deadline for Final Screenplay and Series online voting

FEBRUARY

Wed. Feb. 6                Deadline for 2019 WGA show reservations, sponsorships and ticket sales

Thu. Feb. 7                 Beyond Words – Writers Guild Award-nominated screenwriters panel

Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills

Sun. Feb. 17               2019 WRITERS GUILD AWARDS (71ST Annual)

New York:      Edison Ballroom
Los Angeles: Beverly Hilton

For more information about the 2019 Writers Guild Awards submission process, guidelines, and official entry forms, please visit www.wgaeast.org or www.wga.org.

For media inquiries about the 2019 WGA New York show, please contact Jason Gordon in the WGAE Communications Department at (212) 767-7809 or email: jgordon@wgaeast.org.

For media inquiries about the 2019 WGA Los Angeles show, please contact Gregg Mitchell in the WGAW Communications Department at: (323) 782-4651 or email: gmitchell@wga.org

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the 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.

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WGA East Announces Second Annual Nonfiction Television Showrunner Training Program

Writers Guild of America East

NEW YORK, NY (July 16, 2018) – The Writers Guild of America, East will host its second annual two-day nonfiction showrunner training on July 21st and July 28th at the Guild’s Manhattan headquarters.

The program is funded by the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), a private, non-profit agency which is the workforce development arm of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

The nonfiction showrunner training program aims to prepare qualified writer-producers to advance their careers to the showrunner level. The Guild received more than 100 applications for the program, which will cover topics including pitching and development; staffing, budgets and schedules; and liaising with networks and production companies.

The training will be led by experienced showrunners, including Jonathan Grupper (American Genius; The 1980s: Deadliest Decade; Bad Blood; This Week in History), Scottie Madden (Land Rush; Dude, You’re Screwed; The Ark; Bamazon), Rashidi Hendrix (B.O.R.N. to Style; The Mo’Nique Show; Hot Properties; The Encounter; According to Him + Her; We Are The Joneses), Makario Sarsozo (Evil Talks: Chilling Confessions; American Tarzan; Deadliest Job Interview), Kyle McCabe (Mysteries of the Abandoned; When Sharks Attack; Monsters Inside Me) and Tracey Izatt (What Not to Wear; 90 Day Fiancé: What Now; Rachel Zoe Project).

The program is part of the WGAE’s industry-wide organizing campaign in nonfiction television, which aims to improve conditions in the industry through negotiations and campaign actions, and to develop strategies to build a voice on the job,

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “The WGAE has been working with writer-producers in nonfiction TV for years.  We have won real gains at the bargaining table at a number of production companies and we are in negotiations with several more.  But our work extends beyond the bargaining table at specific shops to an industry-wide effort to improve conditions.  This showrunner training is our latest program for writer-producers who want to build their skills and their careers.”

Debbie Buxton, Deputy Executive Director for Workforce Training at the Consortium for Worker Education said, “We are proud to provide support to nonfiction writer-producers who want to gain the skills necessary to advance their careers through their union. This program by the Writers Guild of America, East opens the door for people in an industry that has been notorious for keeping mid- and junior-level employees underpaid and overworked. We hope this next generation of showrunners will find success in this career and commit to supporting better working conditions.”

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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Fox 5 WNYW-TV Ratifies New Contract

Writers Guild of America East

NEW YORK, NY (July 13, 2018) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) today announced that staff at Fox 5 WNYW-TV, home to “Good Day New York,” ratified a new collective bargaining agreement in a unanimous vote.

The collective bargaining agreement will run from 2018 to 2022 and includes gains on pay and pension contributions. Highlights of the contract include:

  • Wage increases of 2.5% in the first year and 2% in the second, third, and fourth years.
  • Additional increases in base wages for News Assistants.
  • Increased company contributions to the pension fund in each year of the contract.

The Fox 5 WNYW-TV Bargaining Committee said, “It was a long, tough process during which emotions ran high and unity was tested. In the end, we remained unified and won a contract that marks a significant step forward for us and acknowledges our contributions in making Fox 5 New York one of the most respected local news broadcasters in America. While we reached an agreement, we continue to stand with our union brothers and sisters at Fox 5 WNYW-TV who are still fighting for contracts.”

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “It was critical to these hard-working union members to protect their Guild pension benefits and to win reasonable pay increases.  Congratulations and thanks to the committee and the entire unit for mobilizing and speaking out about the need to address these vital concerns at the bargaining table.”

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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Writers Guild of America, East Statement on Janus Decision

Writers Guild of America East

NEW YORK, NY (JUNE 27, 2018) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) issued the following statement regarding today’s United States Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31:”

“We should harbor no illusions about this terrible decision: it was the product of raw power politics, not constitutional deliberation.  The Koch Brothers and their hard-right-wing allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent decades to undermine the ability of working Americans to fight for themselves, to have a voice on the job, to win terms and conditions of employment that make it possible to support a family and pay the bills. 

“The Janus decision is part of a cynical scheme (which included the U.S. Senate’s stunning refusal to consider a nominee to replace Antonin Scalia in 2016) to deprive public sector labor organizations of the basic ability to sustain themselves, financially.  Score one for the plutocrats, who have won an ugly victory at the expense of the people who build our roads and teach our children and fight our fires.” 

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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Janus v AFSCME: Supreme Court Decision Day Actions

JANUS V AFSCME:
SUPREME COURT DECISION DAY ACTIONS

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued their anti-union ruling on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a political attack on public-sector unions aimed at further rigging our economy and democracy in favor of corporations and billionaires.

Now, we’re asking you to help amplify our union message.

We are asking our friends and allies to display how workers are more resolved than ever to stick together and fight back against any attacks that attempt to divide us.

The WGA East has assembled a social media toolkit for our members which includes photos, sample social media posts, and other content from the Guild and the AFL-CIO which you can use to show your support.

Visit wgaeast.org/janus-toolkit to access the toolkit.

Here’s another way that you can take action:

  1. Take a photo of yourself or of you and your co-workers holding up a Norma Rae-style UNION sign to post to social media. (Download a UNION sign here)
  2. Include a message with your photo that lifts up the value of unions to our communities, calls on elected officials and candidates to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join together in unions and highlights how this attack on unions is an attack on all working people.
  3. Share the photo and message on social media using the hashtag #UNION and #FreedomtoJoin

The Writers Guild of America, East is a proud labor union representing writers of film, television, news and digital media. Our union is strong and continues to grow at a rapid pace. We’ve seen how powerful collective action is when negotiating a contract, working to improve workplace standards or fighting back against corporate abuses.

We hope Guild members will take a public stand in support of working people’s right to join together in public-sector unions and build power.

WGAE Announces Council Candidates For 2018 Election

Writers Guild of America East

NEW YORK, NY (JUNE 27, 2018) –The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) today announced the 2018 candidates for its Council election.

Ten (10) council seats will expire this year: seven (7) Freelance and three (3) Staff.

The terms for newly elected Council members will run for two years beginning September 21, 2018.   The Annual Meeting and Council Election will be held at 5pm on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

Voting online and by mail will begin at 12am on Thursday, August 23, 2018. The WGAE does not endorse or recommend any candidates for Guild office.

The eleven (11) candidates for the seven (7) open Freelance seats are (order determined by lot*):

  • Michael Winship
  • Monica Lee Bellais
  • Larry J. Cohen
  • Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (i)
  • Michael Rauch
  • Kaitlin Fontana
  • Andy Rheingold
  • David Angelo
  • A.M. Homes (i)
  • Chris Kyle (i)
  • Kyle Bradstreet (i)

The five (5) candidates for the three (3) open Staff seats are (order determined by lot*):

  • Jeff Young
  • Gail Lee (i)
  • Matt Nelko (i)
  • Kathy McGee (i)
  • Kelly Stout

Freelance members work in screen, television and new media; and Staff members work in television, radio and digital news shops.

*The order of listing candidates is determined by a drawing of candidates’ names by lot, conducted by two Guild members with a WGAE staff member acting as witness.

*(i) denotes incumbent

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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Statement on AT&T-Time Warner Ruling

Writers Guild of America East NEW YORK, NY (June 12, 2018) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), a labor union representing 5,000 content creators, issued the following statement following the U.S. District Court’s ruling on the merger of AT&T and Time Warner:

“The AT&T/Time Warner merger and the demise of net neutrality are a one-two punch square in the midsection of American consumers and content-creators.  Never before has so much programming been under the domination of so few massive media and technology corporations.  At a time when the country demands, and needs, the broadest possible set of views and stories and voices, we have handed over the keys to the media kingdom to giants whose sole motivation is to maximize their short-term investment return, not to inform  or enlighten or entertain.  Monopolies and oligopolies are bad for the economy in general, and for people who care about compelling stories and insightful reporting, in particular.”

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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WGA East Statement on Senate Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

Writers Guild of America East

WGA East Statement on Senate Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

NEW YORK, NY (May 17, 2018) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate vote to restore net neutrality:

“Media companies continue to grow – Sinclair is on a path to owning the airwaves across the country, AT&T and Time Warner press to consolidate, and Disney and Fox seek to merge.  This consolidation empowers the media behemoths to tighten their grip on the flow of information, making it more essential than ever that we preserve an open and free internet. Yesterday, a resolution to restore net neutrality was passed by the U.S. Senate with support from both Democrats and Republicans. FCC Chairman Ajit Pia’s cynical attempt to kill net neutrality was rejected across party lines. We will continue to push for the full reinstatement of net neutrality, which is supported by the large majority of Americans.”

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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The Dodo Unionizes with the Writers Guild of America, East

The Dodo Unionizes with the Writers Guild of America, East

NEW YORK, NY (April 30, 2018) — The editorial, video and social staff at The Dodo have unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). A clear majority of the 46-member staff have signed union cards and called on management to voluntarily recognize the Guild as its collective bargaining representative.

The Dodo, a popular website dedicated to showing love and compassion for animals and animal-related causes, follows fellow Group Nine Media site Thrillist in unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East.

In addition to The Dodo and Thrillist, the WGAE represents digital-first editorial and video staffs at Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, VICE, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate and Gizmodo Media Group. The WGAE now represents nearly 5,000 writers in film, television, news and digital media.

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, noted, “People who craft content for digital media continue to embrace collective bargaining as a means to bring stability and sustainability to their careers.  Working with the WGAE has won economic gains, workplace protections, and a seat at the table with management for these hard-working professionals.

The Dodo Unionizing Committee issued the following statement explaining why they are organizing:

The video, editorial, social and content acquisition staffs of The Dodo are proud to announce we are unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. The digital media landscape is growing at an unprecedented pace and The Dodo remains committed to leading the conversation in one united voice. As our company rapidly grows, union protections are some of the most effective mechanisms we have as employees to remain empowered as workers and valuable contributors to the company’s continued success. We are excited to join our Group Nine peers at Thrillist as union colleagues and to take the next step in The Dodo’s evolution.

The Dodo is committed to helping audiences make emotional connections to animals, from our family pets to the most endangered species throughout the world. As storytellers, we strive to entertain and inform; to honor heroes working tirelessly in the field; and to inspire people to take positive action in an animal’s life. We are the number one animal brand on social media, with billions of content views that have led to a measurable impact in the real world, and we’re preparing to enter the realm of television. As an advocacy leader, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our subject matter and our audience to be as transparent as possible in our processes and ensure that our mission is reflected in every decision made.

By organizing, we will codify a set of values that preserve The Dodo’s workplace as an open, progressive, and collaborative environment. Here are a few of the issues we are eager to address as a union:

Transparency. Honest communication between management and employees is essential to bolstering morale and producing the best creative work possible. Major decisions that affect the future of The Dodo must be communicated in an open, ongoing dialogue so that the staff has agency over their growing job responsibilities.

Editorial standards. As branded content and advertising expand their foothold in our revenue model, we must establish protocols that balance our business and editorial interests. To guarantee that our commercial needs never come into conflict with our mission, we must create and uphold a rigorous system of internal accountability. 

Diversity. In order to promote values like respect and compassion, we need to reflect those values through an inclusive workforce that mirrors the diversity of our audience. It is vital to provide a safe and collaborative workplace where every employee is treated equally and to build concrete pathways of opportunity for underrepresented voices and perspectives.

Equitable salary, compensation, and benefits. To recruit the best talent possible, we need clear and comprehensive job titles, competitive compensation, and benefits. We expect fair salary minimums for all positions; a standard for raises; and regular, diverse pathways for growth.

Guidelines around performance, disciplinary action and severance. As a large, collaborative production lab, individual performance must be judged clearly, consistently and with diplomacy. Guidelines will prevent unnecessary disciplinary situations or terminations as well as provide acceptable severance packages, should the need arise. 

We deeply believe in the mission of The Dodo and cherish the shared working experience we have cultivated as a team. Our office is one of the best places to work in the industry, and this union will foster a democratic process in which every employee has an equal voice. We look forward to joining you at the table and continuing the conversation.

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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