WGA East Members Ratify New Contract With Vox Media

WGA East members employed at Vox Media digital news outlets have voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a new three-year contract that was reached just hours before the union threatened to go on strike. According to the guild, 95% of those covered by the contract took part in the vote, and all but one voted to ratify it.

The eleventh-hour agreement came June 11 after six months of bargaining that saw 95% of the 360-member bargaining unit sign strike pledges, and the guild’s WGAE Council voting unanimously to authorize a strike if a deal wasn’t reached before the June 13 expiration of the old contract.

Those taking part in the ratification vote included writers, editors, producers and podcasters workING at Vox.com, Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SBNation and The Verge.

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“After six months of bargaining, we’re thrilled to have ratified our second collective bargaining agreement, which we believe to be a truly industry leading contract that secures so much for our members,” the union’s bargaining committee said in a statement Thursday. “This contract would not have been possible without the incredible solidarity we saw from our more than 360 members, who held management’s feet to the fire, and were prepared to strike on June 13 if we didn’t get a deal. We often hear from members that the union was what made them want to work at Vox Media, and we’re so proud of this contract that has secured the wage increases and benefits that all of our members deserve.”

Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director, said that “The whole guild stood in solidarity with our members at Vox, who were prepared to demonstrate their commitment to making real gains. This agreement proves the power of collective action.”

According to the guild, the new contract will see the lowest-tiered employees’ base salary jump from $53,000 to $65,000 a year, plus overtime, by the end of the agreement, with a new salaried minimum set at $66,000. Effective July 1, each employee will receive either the new, higher salary minimum for each work tier, or a 4% increase if making under $100,000, and 3% if making over $100,000. In 2023 and 2024, all employees will receive raises, with 3.25% increases for those making under $100,000, and 2.75% for those earning over $100,000.

Other highlights of the new contract include equal pay language that triggers a company investigation if an employee is found to be earning 15% below the average for a job; a policy on critical healthcare that includes abortion access and gender-affirming care; codification of transgender healthcare; five months of parental leave; enhanced severance packages; the elimination of non-disclosure agreements for harassment or discrimination; a 10% cap for year-over-year premium increases, and at least 3% in matching 401(k) payments by the company.

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