Staffers at the Committee to Protect Journalists have gotten some protection of their own, ratifying their first-ever contract through the WGA East. The deal for the 30-member bargaining unit comes after more than 600 guild members signed a petition last month urging the CPJ’s management to agree to a union contact.
Terms of the new deal include a 3.25% pay raise for all employees retroactive to Jan. 1, a 2.25% pay raise in 2021, and 2.5% pay hikes in each of the next two years, plus a $250 signing bonus. Health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance are also included, along with 401(k) contributions and up to 20 weeks’ severance.
“This collective bargaining agreement demonstrates the Committee to Protect Journalists commitment to a welcoming and innovative workplace for Guild-represented employees,” said WGA executive director Lowell Peterson. “It shows that employees who form a union can build upon what they love about the place they work and win real gains at the bargaining table.”
“We are elated that we finally made it to the finish line after a year of tough negotiations,” said the bargaining committee representing the staffers. “We’re proud of the contract we’ve bargained and believe it will improve our workplace and make us stronger as an organization. We are especially grateful to WGAE’s support in helping us get to this point, and ensuring CPJ is a more equitable workplace.”
To advance diversity in hiring, management has agreed to implement a system for tracking self-reported bargaining unit applications and hiring data, which it will also provide to the union.
In 2009, the CPJ, which works to defend freedom of the press around the world, was awarded the guild’s Evelyn F. Burkey Award for bringing “honor and dignity to writers everywhere.”
The WGA East, which represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television, news and new media, represents newsrooms at ABC News, CBS News, CBSN, HuffPost, VICE, Salon, Slate, MTV News, Hearst Magazines, Vox Media, The Intercept, The Dodo, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Bustle Digital Group, Chalkbeat, Fast Company, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, Jewish Currents, Parcast, Refinery29, The Ringer, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, and WBBM/CBS 2 News.