Committee to Protect Journalists Ratifies First Union Contract with WGA East
NEW YORK, NY (December 9, 2020)––The 30-member bargaining unit at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ratified its first collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).
After a year of negotiations, CPJ agreed to a three-year collective bargaining agreement that includes significant gains. The deal comes after more than 600 members of the WGAE working in film, television and news––including Amy Schumer (TRAINWRECK), David Simon (THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA) and Neil Gaiman (GOOD OMENS)—signed a petition urging the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to agree to a union contact. The petition was delivered to the organization on November 4, 2020, prior to a scheduled bargaining session on November 5.
Highlights from CPJ’s contract include:
- Minimum starting salary of $58,000 for full-time bargaining unit members at the Assistant level effective upon ratification. The minimum goes up to $60,000 by the end of this contract. Interns receive $20/hour
- In the first year of the contract, all employees shall receive a 3.25% raise retroactive to January 1,2020, or an increase to the above minimum salary, whichever is higher (inclusive of the 2% January 2020 raise). The contract stipulates annual salary increases of 2.25% in 2021, 2.5% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023
- Codify health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, short and long term disability insurance, 401(k) contributions, Safe Harbor accounts
- Locked in Union Security, Just Cause, Successorship Agreement, and Health and Safety Rules
- Up to 20 weeks of severance
- To advance diversity in hiring, CPJ will implement a system for tracking self-reported bargaining unit applications and hire data within 90 days of ratification. The Employer will provide such data to the union
- The CPJ Diversity Committee will engage with a third party to undertake a climate assessment within 120 days of ratification of this agreement
- A remote-work policy
- Employer will not require any bargaining unit employee enter into (a) mandatory arbitration provision for employment claims not covered by the terms of this collective bargaining agreement, or (b) a post-employment non-competition agreement, or (c) a post-employment non-disparagement agreement;
- CPJ shall defend and provide legal counsel for the bargaining unit employee at the Employer’s expense
- Upon ratification, employees shall receive a $250 one-time bonus
The CPJ Bargaining Committee said, “We are elated that we finally made it to the finish line after a year of tough negotiations. We’re proud of the contract we’ve bargained and believe it will improve our workplace and make us stronger as an organization. We are especially grateful to WGAE’s support in helping us get to this point, and ensuring CPJ is a more equitable workplace.”
Lowell Peterson, Executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, added, “This collective bargaining agreement demonstrates the Committee to Protect Journalists commitment to a welcoming and innovative workplace for Guild-represented employees. It shows that employees who form a union can build upon what they love about the place they work and win real gains at the bargaining table.”
In 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists was awarded the Writers Guild of America, East’s Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes a person or an organization “whose contributions have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere.” Through its in-depth reporting, analysis and advocacy work, the Committee to Protect Journalists has been at the center of the fight to defend freedom of the press around the world. It has brought international attention to journalists who have been threatened, held captive or murdered in the line of duty.
The Writers Guild of America, East represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television, news and new media. In addition to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the WGAE represents newsrooms at ABC News, Bustle Digital Group, CBS News, CBSN, Chalkbeat, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, Hearst Magazines, HuffPost, The Intercept, Jewish Currents, MTV News, Parcast, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM / CBS 2 News.
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.