A petition signed by Tina Fey, Samantha Bee, Michelle Wolf, Paul Haggis and 300 WGA members was delivered today to the managements of both Slate and Thrillist, urging the news websites to bargain in good faith for a new contract covering their writers and editorial staffs.
“As WGA members in scripted film and television, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Slate and Thrillist as they bargain their first union contract,” the petition states. “There is a long history of unionization across American media and entertainment industries because creative professionals deserve a seat at the table to negotiate just working conditions, livable salary minimums, fair raises, quality benefits and union security. We therefore call on Slate and Thrillist management to settle these contracts without further delay.”
WGA East president Beau Willimon hand-delivered the petition to Thrillist’s management at a bargaining session where he was joined by members of the Thrillist bargaining unit. Willimon, creator of Netflix’s House of Cards, handed the petition across the table and urged Thrillist to “listen to the demands of its unionized staff and allies from across the entertainment industry.”
WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson sent the petition to Slate’s leadership via email. “We are one union, united in our determination to win contracts that address our members’ needs and aspirations,” he said. “We are confident our members’ solidarity will bring meaningful progress at the bargaining table, including standard union security provisions that ensure that everyone shares the gains and responsibilities.”
The petition was signed by a number of other prominent WGA members including John Sayles, Robin Thede, Franchesca Ramsey, Chris Gethard, Jon Glaser, Anthony Antamanuik, David Simon, Robert Carlock, Michael Rauch, Tom Fontana, David Mandel, Warren Leight, Michael Arndt, JC Chandor, Tony Gilroy, Phil Johnston, Richard LaGravenese, James Schamus and Michael Weber.
The petition also includes signatures from writers on such shows as The Americans, Blue Bloods, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Dirty Dancing, Divorce, House of Cards, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Law & Order: SVU, Mr. Robot, Quantico, Saturday Night Live, Sharp Objects, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and many others.
The WGAE is currently negotiating first contracts at Thrillist and Slate. The union represents digital and video staffs at Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, Vice, Fast Company, The Dodo, The Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon and Gizmodo Media Group.