Law360 Union members unanimously ratify strong first contract

Dec. 18, 2018 – After nearly two years at the negotiating table, Law360 editorial staffers unanimously approved a first contract that offers significant improvements in pay, working conditions and security to Guild-covered employees at the LexisNexis-owned legal news site.

The four-year contract provides for an immediate 22 percent boost in total salaries, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. It also includes what the local called a “floor of decency,” with minimum salaries pegged at $50,000 per year.

In a rare achievement, Law360 Guild members were able to secure successorship language, which ensures that the collective bargaining agreement would be assumed by any new owner in the event the company is sold.

“Last night, we unanimously (168-0!) ratified a remarkable first contract that fiercely protects and improves the working conditions of everyone in the newsroom at Law360,” the unit wrote in a statement posted on the NewsGuild of New York’s website.

“For years, we have been adamant about protecting the editorial integrity of the newsroom and of our bargaining unit. We successfully negotiated language that prevents the company from reinstating non-compete agreements and onerous daily story quotas. We also achieved a provision that preserves the contract in the event of a sale or acquisition of the company.

“Our newsroom has come together in a way we never thought possible, and our solidarity has vastly improved our workplace. We finally have a voice in our newsroom and it is loud! Let this incredible contract be a testament to what media workers can accomplish when they unionize and win a seat at the table,” they wrote.

In addition to across-the-board raises, beginning in 2019, each employee will be eligible for an annual bonus from a pool equal to at least 3 percent of total payroll for Guild-covered employees. In 2020, editorial employees will receive a guaranteed increase of at least 2 percent each year as well as the opportunity for a merit raise from a pool equal to at least 2 percent of total payroll for the life of the contract.

Guild members also will receive an additional $200 for each year of service at the company as well as a 2 percent ratification bonus.

Employees also will be guaranteed paid sick days and bereavement for the first time in the company’s history, and unlimited paid leave for jury duty.

“This contract delivers important changes that Law360’s journalists demanded, including significantly higher wages, better job security, separate sick days and improved retirement benefits,” said Law360 Unit Chair Juan Carlos Rodriguez.

“When we unionized more than two years ago, we gained a strong collective voice in the newsroom. We spoke up and pushed hard for a fair contract that would reflect the time, effort and expertise we put into our high-quality work, and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved with this agreement.”

“Our members have fought and worked tirelessly to achieve an agreement that reflects their hard work and the value they bring to Law360,” said NewsGuild of New York President Grant Glickson. “We couldn’t be prouder of their hard work and determination in setting the bar with the strength of this unprecedented first contract.”

NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said, “The workers of Law360 demanded respect for the value of their work. Clearly, they won it. It shows in this incredibly impressive agreement.”

Photo: Law360 Union members were happy when they voted for a union almost two years ago and they’re happy now!