WGA East Members at The Dodo Ratify First Contract with Vox Media
NEW YORK, NY (October 31, 2022) – Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) members at The Dodo, the #1 animal media brand globally, unanimously ratified a new two-year collective bargaining agreement with parent company Vox Media.
This is The Dodo’s second collective bargaining agreement, and first with Vox Media.
The new contract includes a major increase in salary minimums for all job titles, bringing The Dodo Union in-line with the industry standards set by the Guild. The new minimum salary level for the lowest tiered staff will go up $10,000 to a base pay of $60,000. Upon ratification, every unit member will be in tier two or above, and the minimum salary of any current member will be $66,100. In total, the average annual salary for all unit members is going up $8,000 per year. Further, Vox Media agreed to terminate the ‘merit pool,’ so now every bargaining unit member is guaranteed an annual raise.
Additional highlights from the contract include:
- Forty-hour workweek that includes recuperation time for salaried employees (when working unusually long hours, late nights, on a holiday, or on a sixth day in a week), overtime pay for certain titles, and guaranteed 10 hours of rest time between shifts;
- Health care benefits that include a 10% cap for year-over-year premium increases starting with the 2024 plan year, development of a policy on critical health care that will include abortion access and gender-affirming care, codified WPATH (trans health care) standards, and an agreement that the company will always provide health benefits to partners regardless of gender;
- Increases in leave policies, including five months (20 weeks) of parental leave and a policy that states management will top up short-term disability payment for at least four weeks so people are made whole when they need health leave (medical recovery, mental health, etc.);
- A minimum of 12 weeks of severance for people who have been at the company for a year or less, and a minimum of 26 weeks of severance for people who have been at the company for over 10 years;
- Guarantee that the unit will continue to have work-from-home flexibility, as well as a $75 per month WFH reimbursement, and $75 per month comms subsidy (internet, phone bill, etc.);
- Equal pay protections that trigger a company investigation if a worker believes they are paid 15% below the average for a job at their vertical;
- Commitment to at least 50% of job candidates interviewed being from groups underrepresented at The Dodo (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities) and guaranteed funding of the Union DEI Committee of $11,000 per year, with an additional $11,000 per year for initiatives to retain employees from underrepresented populations;
- Eradicating the use of employee NDAs in cases of harassment or discrimination;
- $7,000 for the unit each year to go toward professional development classes, conferences, etc.;
- At least 3% 401(k) match.
In a statement, The Dodo Bargaining Committee wrote, “We couldn’t be more thrilled with what we’ve achieved in our second contract. When we began bargaining, our goals were to lift the members of our unit up to a livable, industry-standard wage and to ensure that our acquisition by a bigger parent company would mean better pay, more resources, and higher standards of working and living. We’re proud to say that we’ve won a contract that not only guarantees all of this for our unit, but truly reflects the compassion and humanity that The Dodo has built its legacy on.”
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “We are proud of the work of our professional staff and our activist members – solidarity and hard work that has resulted in real gains for our members at The Dodo.”
During the negotiations, the entire 40-member Dodo bargaining unit signed a pledge to strike if a contract was not reached before it expired at the end of the month. In addition, over 3,700 supporters of The Dodo sent letters to Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff demanding a fair contract. The letter campaign was supported by the AFL-CIO, the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees, and the New York City Central Labor Council.
The Dodo has a Facebook audience of nearly 50 million people, a YouTube audience of 12.5 million, an Instagram audience of 10.7 million. Vox Media recently announced that The Dodo entered into a partnership with Walmart for Dodo-branded pet products in over 1,600 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s website. People can also purchase Dodo-branded pet insurance through Fetch by The Dodo, and subscribe to Dodo-branded pet telehealth services through DodoVet.
In addition to The Dodo, the Writers Guild of America, East’s Online Media Sector includes Bustle Digital Group, Chalkbeat, Committee to Protect Journalists, Fast Company, FT Specialist, Future PLC, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Magazines, Huffpost, Jewish Currents, MTV News, NowThis, Onion Inc., Refinery29, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 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.