CBSN Ratifies First Union Contract At Live-Streaming News Service
NEW YORK, NY (March 11, 2020)—The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has negotiated a first collective bargaining agreement with CBSN, the first anchored live-streaming news service to be unionized. The new agreement was unanimously ratified by the more than 65 writers, producers, and graphic artists in the Guild-represented bargaining unit.
The agreement provides substantial improvements in a range of economic and non-economic areas, including night shift differential, short turn-around pay, standby pay, and extra pay for long work weeks for all employees. It provides a series of upgrade payments for employees assigned to perform work ordinarily performed by people in higher-paid titles, extra paid days off, a system for getting paid for unused comp days, holiday pay, and substantial severance pay.
It includes a commitment to recruiting a more inclusive workforce and a diversity committee to address these issues on a regular basis, plus committees to address working conditions and workload. Employees in the lower-paid classifications will receive time and a half overtime plus penalties for working through meal periods. The agreement streamlines current job titles and includes clear job descriptions and minimum pay rates for all titles. On top of all of this, CBSN’s unionized staff will receive across-the-board pay increases of 3% per year.
WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson, who was the union’s chief negotiator, said, “CBSN represents the future of live news, and we are very pleased to have negotiated an excellent contract. Our hard-working and dedicated bargaining committee made a compelling case to management on all of the top priority issues. To the company’s credit, their negotiators and managers took these concerns seriously and agreed to provisions addressing all of them. This contract proves that a mobilized and engaged membership, and a tenacious focus on priority issues, can really make a difference in the workplace. Collective bargaining works.”
The CBSN Bargaining Committee said, “We are thrilled with our first union contract and proud of all our colleagues who stood together to win it. We are also grateful for all the support from our fellow Guild members at CBS and across the industry.”
The WGAE thanked its members at CBS News’ broadcast operations, and the members who write dramas and comedies for the network, all of whom expressed solidarity with their colleagues at CBSN by signing petitions, visiting the shop, and tweeting their support.
In addition to CBSN, the WGAE represents newsrooms at ABC News, CBS News, Committee to Protect Journalists, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, HuffPost, The Intercept, MTV News, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM / CBS 2 News. The WGAE now represents nearly 6,000 writers in film, television, news and new media.
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new 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.