WGA East Members at BDG Ratify First Union Contract
NEW YORK, NY (May 11, 2023) – The 125 Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) members at BDG (Bustle Digital Group) unanimously ratified their first collective bargaining agreement after two years of negotiations with management.
The road to a fair contract for BDG workers was long and sometimes rough. At least once, collective action in the workplace led to employees getting locked out of Slack and an entire brand’s Slack channels getting shut down. But every petition, lunchtime walkout, Slack demonstration, email march on the Boss, and Unfair Labor Practice charge sent a powerful message to management – and it worked.
Under the terms of their first union contract, BDG Union members will see a 9.25% raise over the course of the three year agreement. The starting minimum salary will begin at $62,000. All workers are guaranteed at least six weeks of severance pay the moment they’re hired, and that will increase to as many as 21 weeks of severance. The new contract also includes provisions for diversity and inclusion, editorial independence, equal pay for employees in New York City and elsewhere.
Specific wins for part-timers under the new contract include health care coverage, PTO, and paid holidays, as well as hourly wages matching those of full-time colleagues.
The BDG Union said, “This is a tremendous and hard-earned victory for BDG workers, and it offers important protections in an often-uncertain industry. Determination and unified action have paid off in a tangible way for BDG workers. Collective action works, and this newly-ratified contract is proof. The members of the BDG union also wish to express gratitude to colleagues and supporters who stood in solidarity with us during this effort; every signed petition and letter to management helped make this contract happen and made our lives and our workplace better.”
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “This agreement demonstrates the power of collective action. Whether they work in online media, broadcast and cable news or film and television, WGA East members have shown that they are ready and willing to fight to win a fair contract. Solidarity works.”
The BDG Union represents editorial, video, design, and social staffers at BDG sites Bustle, Elite Daily, Fatherly, Inverse, Nylon, Romper, Scary Mommy, The Dad, and The Zoe Report.
In addition to BDG, the Writers Guild of America, East’s Online Media Sector includes Chalkbeat, Committee to Protect Journalists, Fast Company, FT Specialist, Future PLC, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Magazines, HuffPost, Inc., Jewish Currents, 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, 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.