FT Specialist US Unionizes with Writers Guild of America, East
NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2021)––FT Specialist US, a consortium of trade publications under the Financial Times, today announced they have unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) for the purpose of collective bargaining. A clear supermajority of FT Specialist’s 39-member US editorial staff signed union cards and called on management to voluntarily recognize the Guild.
FT Specialist includes publications Agenda, BoardIQ, Financial Advisor IQ, FundFire, Health Payer Specialist, Ignites, Life Annuity Specialist, MandateWire, and P&C Specialist.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “The editorial staff at FT Specialist has spoken clearly and powerfully about the essential role of collective bargaining in addressing vital workplace issues like transparency, equity, and independence. We welcome them to our union of creative professionals.”
The FT Specialist Organizing Committee presented management with a ”Why We’re Organizing” letter, which you can read in full here:
FT Specialist’s US-based editorial employees have chosen to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East. With a supermajority of card-signing support, we are committed to safeguarding FT Specialist’s culture. Indeed, as one of our veteran colleagues recently advised us, we intend to “jealously guard” it. We want to strengthen it by adhering to best practices–in terms of transparency, equity, fair pay, benefits, and employee protections–all of which we identify as essential for the company to thrive.
FT Specialist succeeds when it maintains a collaborative, innovative, and nurturing workplace. By voluntarily embracing the union, management and employees will create together the safe space for all to engage and participate fully in further developing and building such a workplace.
The playing field for digital media companies changes quickly. Fast footwork is required for FT Specialist to prosper. And our parent company has for many months held that “capitalism needs to be reset.” Our union will ensure that editorial employees, thanks to their greater sense of ownership and control, will be empowered to help FT Specialist discover and deploy more efficient and effective tactics to meet its business goals.
By negotiating a contract collectively, we aim to protect all FT Specialist’s US editorial employees and help our parent company fully recognize our significant contributions to the corporation’s bottom line. Our collectively bargained agreement will show, in the public square, the commitment that FT Specialist managers and editorial employees have made to the business values we extol on our websites.
Transparency and Communication:
We want to make sure that management is communicating and consulting with employees about major decisions, especially in times of crisis. We want mechanisms in place to hold management accountable for its promises.
Equitable and Fair Compensation:
We are seeking respectable salary floors for each position, reasonable cost of living adjustments, a clear, consistent system for performance reviews and raises, a strong commitment to diversity in hiring, and the erasure of any gender- or race-based wage gaps that may exist across positions.
Benefits and Severance:
We want to make sure our freelance colleagues are correctly classified and receive the benefits to which they are entitled. And we are asking for clear policies on parental leave, flexible and remote working, termination, and guaranteed minimum severance payments, based on years worked at FT Specialist.
A collectively negotiated contract will liberate FT Specialist and its editorial employees, by instilling confidence that all share a fair and equitable workplace where concerns are addressed transparently. This is no negative statement of any one manager or supervisor but an affirmative statement of forging our collective future. When FT Specialist’s managers recognize our union and sign a contract that codifies their pledges to treat all with dignity, fairness, and respect, those documented assurances will strip away misunderstandings and allow us together to report, write, edit, and produce journalism that outpaces rivals’ in every way, every day.
The union’s win is the company’s win.
The Writers Guild of America, East represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television, news (broadcast and digital), and podcasts. In addition to FT Specialist, the WGAE represents staffs at 1010 WINS, ABC News, Bustle Digital Group, CBS News, CBSN, Chalkbeat, Committee to Protect Journalists, Entercom (WCBS-AM, WBBM-AM, KNX-AM), Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future Plc, Gimlet Media, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Magazines, HuffPost, The Intercept, Jewish Currents, MTV News, NowThis, Onion Inc., Parcast, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 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.