Newsletter: So many contracts!

Hot off the presses, unionized journalists behind The New York Times’s Wirecutter have unanimously approved a new three-year contract. Wirecutter Union workers had been working under an expired contract since Feb. 28.

Highlights of the contract include: A new wage floor of $66,300, wages increases ranging from 9.5% to 18.5% over the life of the contract, a $3,000 ratification bonus, sabbatical leave after 10 years of continuous service, strong protections for remote workers, and more.

“We are so proud of what our bargaining committee was able to accomplish at the table with the rock-solid support of our entire unit,” said Sarah Witman, senior staff writer for Wirecutter and a member of the bargaining committee. “Our members showed their dedication to this process through collective actions, including email and slack messaging campaigns, a unit-wide strike pledge, and observing the bargaining process over Zoom. In a relatively short time, we were able to greatly expand and solidify protections for our members.”

Following a marathon bargaining session over the weekend, NewsGuild of New York-represented staff at Condé Nast brands, including Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, Glamour, Bon Appétit, and more, reached a tentative contract agreement with the company, averting what could have been a work stoppage timed to begin on the day of the Met Gala.

This is the first contract for the Condé Union, which was certified in 2022. Some of the contract highlights include: $3.6 million in total wage increases, 14 weeks of fully paid parental leave (an increase of two weeks), just cause protections, an end to two-tier permanence employment, conversion of subcontracted employees to permanent staff, and hybrid work protections, among other wins.

“Our pledge to take any action necessary to get our contract, including walking off the job ahead of the Met Gala, and all the actions we took this week, pushed the company to really negotiate,” said Mark Alan Burger, Vanity Fair social media manager and a member of the Condé Union bargaining team. “We made every effort this week to meet with them and get this contract completed, and we’re thrilled to say we did it.”

In another contract win for NewsGuild of New York members, unionized editorial workers at People, People video, Entertainment Weekly and Martha Stewart Living have reached contract agreements with Dotdash Meredith in a joint deal that, among other things, lifts the average union worker’s pay immediately by an average of 15%. The three-year deal will cover approximately 160 workers represented by the Dotdash Meredith Union.

But this win did not come without a fight. Members held a rally and practice picket at Dotdash Meredith headquarters on Feb. 7 and marched on CEO Neil Vogel on April 18. The Guild also filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against the publisher over skipped raise increases, anti-union activity in hiring, and unlawfully imposed requirements to return to office that resulted in a complaint being issued by Region 2 of the NLRB in October 2023. Those were resolved as part of the overall settlement.

Unionized editorial workers at Law360 have signed a letter of no confidence in Vice President of Legal News at LexisNexis Teresa Harmon over numerous leadership failures, including blatant disrespect at the bargaining table, unlawful layoffs of 10% of the newsroom without reason, and a lack of any clear editorial vision.

“We, the Law360 Union, are profoundly dismayed and disillusioned with your leadership as the Vice President of Legal News at LexisNexis,” the letter reads. “This letter is an expression of our Vote of No Confidence, taken because we have lost faith in your ability to manage in a way that allows this company to succeed and fosters a healthy workplace environment.”

The union’s current contract expired on Dec. 31, 2022, and negotiations have been ongoing since then to finalize a new collective bargaining agreement.

There’s fresh drama in Pittsburgh with the brothers who own the Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade suing each other. Allan Block, the CEO of the company that owns the papers, sued most of the company’s board and his brother accusing his family of scheming to sell all of it without his input. The suit doesn’t have any impact on the strike, which is still ongoing in its 19th month.

“The Blocks are no strangers to infighting,” said Zack Tanner, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, to our strike publication the Pittsburgh Union Progress. “If you worked at the paper for a minute or for 50 years, you know the Blocks like to fight with each other. No big news there. But our fight is our fight. They can fight internally, but we’re still committed to winning the strike.”

In solidarity,

Jon Schleuss
President, The NewsGuild-CWA