WGA East and HuffPost Reach Deal on New Contract
NEW YORK, NY (February 10, 2023) – Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) members at HuffPost ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with management at HuffPost and BuzzFeed. The contract was unanimously ratified by the 91-member bargaining unit.
The HuffPost bargaining unit said, “We are incredibly proud of our third contract, which builds a better future for HuffPost and the talented individuals who work here and raises the bar for our entire industry. With a unanimous ratification vote, we can’t wait to get to work enforcing the protections we fought so hard for at the bargaining table.”
The contract increases salary minimums by about 10%, resulting in raises of $5,000-$8,000 for several members. The lowest salary minimum at HuffPost will now be $66,625, which is the highest starting salary of any WGAE Online Media contract. In the first year of the contract, the agreement guarantees annual salary increases of 3.4% for unit members making below $92,000, and 3% for those making above $92,000. The entire unit will receive 3% salary increases in the second and third year of the contract.
Additional highlights from the three-year agreement focus on the following:
- CAREER DEVELOPMENT: A process to ensure titles and salary level reflect the skill and work of our members; a promotion panel with union representation to appeal promotion denials; one month unpaid professional leave for people who have been here more than 3 years; requests for remote work will not be unreasonably denied; 5% minimum salary increase upon promotion; and a process and timeline to move off irregular shifts.
- DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: Everyone on a hiring panel needs to complete anti-bias training; a bargaining unit member will be on all hiring panels; a two-week extension to the hiring search if the candidate pool is not sufficiently diverse; a significant increase in requirements for interviewing candidates from underrepresented populations; better protections for disability accommodations and reimbursement for related costs; DI&B trainings specific to digital media newsrooms which shall include issues of identifying and addressing potential racism and other bias in newsrooms; $35,000 funding for the Diversity Committee and a spending tracker for transparency; audit of internal systems to make sure gender pronouns and preferred names are properly used (proactive efforts to prevent deadnaming); no NDAs for settlements related to harassment or discrimination.
- WORK RESOURCES: Codified $75/month work-from-home stipend and $300 onetime payment for new employees.
- BENEFITS: 18 weeks plus any disability weeks for parental leave; mental health care reimbursement (100% reimbursement of UCR for out-of-network therapy); abortion access reimbursement from the company for any costs where illegal to access care; limits on increases to our health care premiums; PTO payout upon separation; monthly self care day; pregnancy loss leave covered under bereavement; short-term disability paid at 100% salary up to 4 weeks; codified WPATH standards of gender-affirming care
- EDITORIAL PROTECTIONS: Traffic cannot be the reason for disciplinary action; improved “no strike clause” allowing for solidarity actions and no struck work; improved process for outside work approvals.
- WORKLOAD AND COMP TIME: Codified 40-hour work week; payout of comp time upon separation; two comp days in addition to pay for working holidays, additional comp days for those on irregular shifts.
- SEVERANCE: 30-day notification to union if there will be a reduction in force; two-week notice when targeted for layoff; fairness in layoff process — where other factors are similar, seniority shall govern.
- HEALTH AND SAFETY: Health and safety provisions with extensive protections requiring a safe workplace
Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “Guild members at HuffPost fought hard to win an extraordinary contract that provides numerous tangible gains that will immediately enrich our members’ professional and personal lives. This contract could not have been reached without the unit’s incredible solidarity throughout these tough negotiations, and they have been rewarded with an agreement that raises the bar for the entire online media industry.”
In addition to HuffPost, the Writers Guild of America, East’s Online Media Sector includes BDG, Chalkbeat, Committee to Protect Journalists, Fast Company, FT Specialist, Future PLC, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Magazines, Inc., Jewish Currents, MTV News, NowThis, Onion Inc., Refinery29, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Media, The Dodo, The Intercept, Thrillist, VICE, and Vox Media.
ABOUT THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, broadcast and streaming news, podcasts, and online 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.