In a milestone development, the Writers Guild of America East has negotiated a first collective bargaining agreement with CBSN, the first anchored live-streaming news service to be unionized.
The guild announced Wednesday that the new three-year agreement was unanimously ratified by the more than 65 writers, producers, and graphic artists in the bargaining unit. It said the pact — which goes into effect immediately — provides across-the-board pay increases of 3% per year.
The WGA East said the deal includes “substantial” improvements, including night shift differential, short turn-around pay, standby pay, and extra pay for long work weeks for all employees. It also provides a series of upgrade payments for employees assigned to perform work ordinarily performed by people in higher-paid titles, extra paid days off, a system for getting paid for unused comp days, holiday pay, and “substantial” severance pay. Employees in the lower-paid classifications will receive time and a half overtime plus penalties for working through meal periods.
WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson, who was the union’s chief negotiator, said, “CBSN represents the future of live news, and we are very pleased to have negotiated an excellent contract. Our hard-working and dedicated bargaining committee made a compelling case to management on all of the top priority issues. To the company’s credit, their negotiators and managers took these concerns seriously and agreed to provisions addressing all of them. This contract proves that a mobilized and engaged membership, and a tenacious focus on priority issues, can really make a difference in the workplace. Collective bargaining works.”
In addition to CBSN, the WGA East represents newsrooms at the ABC News, CBS News, Committee to Protect Journalists, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, HuffPost, The Intercept, MTV News, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM / CBS 2 News.
The WGA East said Wednesday that it now represents nearly 6,000 writers in film, television, news and new media.