The editorial staff at digital news site Slate has unanimously ratified its second collective bargaining agreement with the WGA East. The new three-year contract, covering 56 staffers, will see salary minimums rise to $58,000 by 2024, up from the current minimum of $51,000.
Slate won union recognition in January 2018, and ratified its first collective bargaining agreement a year later.
“This contract improves upon the previous one with five additional weeks of parental leave, higher salary floors, guaranteed increases in annual cost of living raises for more than half of the staff, and other critical benefits,” the Slate/WGA East bargaining committee said. “We are proud of the work we did with the WGA East to secure this contract and are hopeful for the future of Slate.”
New features of the agreement include:
• 3% annual increases for any unit member making under $72,999. Unit members making between $73,000 and $93,999 will receive a minimum of 2% annual increase. Those making above $94,000 will receive a minimum increase of 1.75% in 2022 and 2023, and 2% in 2024.
• A one-time ratification bonus of $750.
• 13 weeks of paid parental leave, increased from eight weeks.
• A budget of $10,000 a year for diversity initiatives, to be spent at the discretion of the Labor-Management Committee.
• Employees can use their personal stories without management interference for derivative works after four years, and Slate does not get to share any revenue.
• Juneteenth added as an additional holiday.
• In the event Slate lays off an employee, the company now has to give the employee 20 days’ notice or pay in lieu thereof. If someone loses their job at Slate, they get up to two months of COBRA health coverage.
• More robust anti-harassment language.
• Four months in which staffers working extra hours can use their comp time, two more than under the previous contract.
• Inclusion of Slate Plus editors in the recognition agreement and unit.
“Slate’s second collective bargaining agreement improves terms and conditions for all unit members,” said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. “Guild members at Slate made their priorities clear to management and the union was able to win real gains. Solidarity delivers results at the bargaining table.”
The guild represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television, news (broadcast and digital) and podcasts. In addition to Slate, the WGAE represents newsrooms at 1010 WINS, ABC News, Audacy (WCBS-AM, WBBM-AM, KNX-AM), Bustle Digital Group, CBS News, CBSN, Chalkbeat, Committee to Protect Journalists, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, FT Specialist, Future plc, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Magazines, HuffPost Inc., The Intercept, Jewish Currents, MSNBC, MTV News, NowThis, Onion Inc., Refinery29, Salon, Talking Points Memo, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM-CBS 2 News.
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