The editorial and podcast staff of Slate, the politics and news website, has ratified its first contract with the WGA East. The 51-member Slate staff is the latest of more than a dozen online news sites that have organized under the guild’s umbrella, including Salon, HuffPost, Vice and ThinkProgress.
“Slate’s editorial staff demonstrates that strong union contracts can be achieved through persistence and people power,” said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. “They showed that collective bargaining works and that digital media staffs can secure concrete gains and workplace protections. We urge all writers to join the labor movement and win a seat at the table.”
The three-year agreement includes a minimum starting salary of $51,000, annual pay increases, the rights to derivative works, protections against online harassment, codifying anti-harassment policies and a diversity task force, non-discrimination rules, comp time, paid time off, lay-off notice and severance, a commitment to interviewing diverse candidates for open positions, just cause and union security.
“It’s a new day at Slate,” said the Slate bargaining committee on its Twitter account. “Our contract is built on principles of equity and diversity. And yes, we have union security! Management recognized our profound objections to a ‘right-to work’ provision and honored our demand for a union shop. We will all pay our fair share for the representation we receive. One of our primary reasons for undertaking this process was our profound love of Slate. We felt so lucky to work with management last week to put our shared goals into action. Our contract reflects our fundamental values as a company and a workplace. We’re very proud of it.”
Other new media outlets that have signed the guild’s contract include Refinery29, Thrillist, The Dodo, Onion Inc., The Intercept, Vox Media, Fast Company, Talking Points Memo, MTV News and Gizmodo Media Group.