Jacobin Members Ratify First Contract

Jacobin workers have a lot to celebrate.

Jan. 24, 2018 – NewsGuild-CWA members at Jacobin, a Brooklyn-based print and online magazine that offers socialist perspectives on politics and culture, overwhelmingly ratified a first contract between the company and The NewsGuild of New York, the local that represents them. The contract will remain in effect until Dec. 15, 2021.

Negotiations began in January 2017. Management voluntarily recognized the union in October 2016, after all the publication’s editorial employees signed cards seeking NewsGuild representation.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that our members at Jacobin have ratified their first union contract,” said Grant Glickson, president of the NewsGuild of New York. “Not only do these employees understand the value of a union in the workplace, but now they’re able to work at a publication that truly puts its ideologies into practice. Congrats to our members, as this is another important win for the industry and the labor movement.”

The new three-year agreement provides Guild members, who are dispersed across the country, with a 2 percent guaranteed wage increase in each year of the contract as well as a 2 percent signing bonus. Additionally, all staff will receive paid holidays.

Guild members, including part-time employees, will have the opportunity to opt in to a fully covered medical insurance plan offered by the United Furniture Workers, which also has been offered to management. The company will match up to 2 percent in contributions to a retirement fund for Guild members.

Jacobin staffers will be eligible ford up to three months of parental leave and will see an increase in vacation days. They also will have the opportunity to take a month (or two months on a part-time schedule) for book leave.

“Unions are just the word we use to describe the power that comes from workers acting collectively, and that power is multiplied way beyond what our small shop could achieve because we’re connected to all the other publications represented by the NewsGuild,” said Jacobin Unit Chair Alex Press. “I hope the existence of our union at Jacobin serves to rebuke any boss elsewhere who claims his or her publication can’t afford a union.”

“Despite Jacobin’s small size and nonprofit status, having a union is perfectly compatible with us maintaining a productive, sustainable operation,” said publisher Bhaskar Sunkara. “Bourgeois outlets have no excuse dragging their feet in recognizing their staff unions.”

Local representative Bettina Damiani served as the union’s lead negotiator alongside Jacobin’s bargaining committee.