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The Intercept Staff Ratifies First Writers Guild Contract

The editorial staff at investigative digital news site the Intercept has unanimously ratified its first contract, negotiated by the Writers Guild of America East.

The guild and the site, founded by Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras, made the announcement Wednesday.

The three-year collective bargaining agreement includes a first-of-its-kind diversity provision that ensures at least two candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in journalism (i.e., women, people of color, or those identifying as LGBTQ+) will be interviewed for any vacant bargaining unit position not being created for a specific candidate or for purposes of promoting an existing bargaining unit employee.

The contract also creates a Diversity Committee of both bargaining unit members and editorial management that will meet quarterly to discuss, assist, and partner with human resources and management on current and potential diversity and inclusion initiatives at the Intercept.

Management has also agreed to conduct an annual demographic survey providing newsroom employees with an anonymous opportunity to self-identify with respect to, among other things, race/ethnicity, national background, educational background, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and creed. The report will be provided to the union.

The contract inlcudes: “meaningful” pay increases for all employees, particularly those who are currently at or below median pay; a new system of pay tiers based on job classifications with guidance (and annual discussions with supervisors) on how to advance; four months paid leave for all parents (birth, adoption, or foster); just cause for termination plus “significant” severance pay; and provisions on reuse of employees’ work.

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said, “The union bargaining committee worked diligently and intelligently to translate employees’ concerns and aspirations into substantial gains in the collective bargaining agreement. This hard work, plus thoughtful and diligent work by management’s representatives, have led to a very strong first contract that addresses diversity and inclusion, transparency and fairness in pay and job duties, and meaningful ongoing engagement in workplace decisions.”

In addition to the Intercept, the WGA East represents digital-first editorial and video staffs at Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, Vice, Fast Company, the Dodo, Thrillist, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate, and Gizmodo Media Group. The WGA East has added about 1,000 members from these sites and lifted its total count to more than 5,000.

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