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Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Wednesday December 19, 2018

The Dodo Ratifies First Union Contract with the Writers Guild of America, East

The animal news publication is the second Group Nine Media
subsidiary to ratify a contract with the WGA East

NEW YORK (December 19, 2018) — The Writers Guild of America, East announced today that the video, editorial, social and content acquisition staffs at The Dodo—the digital news site focused on animals and animal rights—voted unanimously in favor of ratifying their first union contract.

The Dodo is the second Group Nine Media subsidiary to unionize with the WGA, East: the lifestyle publication Thrillist ratified their first Guild contract in October after a lengthy negotiations period and the first-ever strike authorization vote in a digital media site.

The road to a union contract at the Dodo began April 30, 2018 when the publication’s staff announced that they were organizing with the Guild. In their “Why We’re Organizing” letter, the staff cited issues like transparency; editorial standards; diversity; equitable salary, compensation, and benefits; and guidelines around performance, disciplinary action, and severance as primary motivators behind their decision to organize. On May 11, 2018, the staff at The Dodo voted 35-4 in favor of organizing with the WGAE.

The Dodo reached a contract deal at 3:30 am on Saturday, December 5, after four consecutive days of bargaining with management.

The ratified contract includes many of the benefits and protections secured in the Thrillist agreement, including a $50,000 salary floor, a robust paid parental leave policy, and just cause standards and improved guaranteed severance in the event of layoffs.

Other highlights from the Dodo’s three-year collective bargaining agreement include:

  • A 6% pay increase in the first year of the contract, and 2.5% increases in the second and third years; plus merit pay
  • Union security;
  • Secured employee input on editorial decisions;
  • An enhanced sick time policy;
  • Performance reviews that include a compensation assessment;
  • Codification of certain benefits like vacation and work from home policies.

The agreement also includes a robust and comprehensive set of standards regarding productivity goals, making the Dodo CBA an example of the crucial role a union can play in creating manageable workloads.

In a statement, the Dodo bargaining committee said “This contract was achieved through the collective action and mutual support of all of our colleagues, and we are so proud of the standards we established together. We are very excited to join our colleagues at Thrillist as we ratify the second union contract at Group Nine, and we look forward to other shops in digital media working together to provide themselves with the same fair and basic protections.”

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, added “We are proud that, with member engagement and solidarity, the WGAE is able to negotiate agreements that address the issues that matter most to our members. Gains in organizing translate to gains at the bargaining table, and ultimately this means more power and better conditions for people who craft content across the industry.”

The editorial employees at Thrillist were also eager to express their enthusiasm at the Dodo’s contract ratification. In a statement, the Thrillist Union said “The Thrillist Union congratulates our Group Nine colleagues at The Dodo, who finalized their first CBA at 3:30am on a Saturday to guarantee an equitable workplace for the next three years. Unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East has not only ensured all of us better wages and codified practices related to important issues like diversity and editorial standards, it has made us more unified and connected as a workforce. We’re proud to work alongside such talented and dedicated people (and animals!), and through our collective organizing efforts, we’ve made Group Nine a better place to work and formed valuable new relationships along the way.”

The Dodo is the fourth digital media publication to win union recognition with the WGA, East in 2018 and the fifth to ratify a Guild contract this year.

In addition to The Dodo staff, the WGA, East represents over 1,500 creative professionals at digital news shops including Thrillist, Vox Media, VICE, Onion Inc., HuffPost, The Intercept, Slate, Salon, ThinkProgress, Fast Company, Talking Points Memo, MTV News and Gizmodo Media Group.

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


The agreement also includes a robust and comprehensive set of standards regarding productivity goals, making the Dodo CBA an example of the crucial role a union can play in creating manageable workloads.

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