Thrillist Ratifies First Union Contract with Writers Guild of America, East
NEW YORK, NY (October 10, 2018) – After an intense contract campaign that included the first-ever strike authorization at a digital news site, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) today announced that the editorial staff at Thrillist unanimously ratified its first union contract.
For over a year, the Thrillist bargaining committee fought for a livable wage. In August, as talks stalled over salary minimums, Thrillist’s editorial staff staged a one-day walkout that culminated with the first-ever vote to authorize a strike at a digital news site.
Earlier in the campaign, over 300 television and film writers signed a solidarity statement that was hand delivered to Thrillist’s management by WGAE President Beau Willimon.
In the end, Thrillist won a contract that cements financial gains and important workplace protections. Highlights include:
- Minimum starting salary of $50,000.
- Yearly salary increases of 8.5% the first year and 2.5% the second and third year of the contract.
- Improved guaranteed severance in the event of layoffs.
- Eight weeks of paid parental leave (at the employee’s regular salary) for primary care providers, and four weeks of paid parental leave (at the employee’s regular salary) for secondary care providers.
- Editorial standards policies, including a process to correct or delete posts, and a fence around sponsored content.
- Just cause and a transparent process for discipline and termination.
- Deletion of pre-existing non-compete agreements.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, noted, “The hard work of the WGAE negotiating committee, backed by the solidarity of the entire bargaining unit, have made this excellent agreement possible. Collective bargaining works; people who craft content can make concrete improvements in their pay and working conditions by unionizing, and can gain a real voice on the job.”
Thrillist’s bargaining committee added, “We are pleased to announce that the Thrillist Union has ratified our first collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East with an overwhelming majority of staff voting YES. After lengthy negotiations with Group Nine Media, the union and management agreed to a guaranteed 8.5% raise for the entire bargaining unit in the first year of the contract; guaranteed and merit-based raises to follow in subsequent years; a salary floor of $50,000; improved guarantees around severance, sick time, and vacation days; codified editorial standards; and more. Our contract was won after over a year at the bargaining table, which included a historic strike authorization vote and collective walkout — the first of its kind in digital media. This represents a victory not just for the editorial employees of Thrillist, but for our entire industry. Through collective action we’ve made our workplace better and helped set a standard we hope other digital media shops can follow. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our friends and colleagues at the Writers Guild of America, East, and we are excited to work under our new contract. The Thrillist Union stands in solidarity with all other digital media shops anywhere in the collective bargaining process — especially our Group Nine Media colleagues at The Dodo Union — and we’ll continue to offer them any support we can. Onward.”
In addition to Thrillist, the WGAE represents over 1,000 creative professionals at digital news shops including Vox Media, VICE, Onion Inc., HuffPost, The Intercept, Slate, Salon, ThinkProgress, The Dodo, Fast Company, Talking Points Memo, MTV News 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 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.