Digital Writers Union | ThinkProgress Writers Join Union
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ThinkProgress Ratifies First
Union Contract

On July 25, 2016, the editorial employees at ThinkProgress unanimously ratified the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the Center for American Progress.

 

In the first year of the contract almost a third of the bargaining unit will receive increases of between 9% and 20%, and the average increase for the bargaining unit will be 6%. In addition to the very significant pay increases, the agreement includes provisions on just cause, editorial independence, severance pay, revenue sharing, preserving health benefits and paid time off.

 

Highlights from the first year of the contract include:

 

  • A guaranteed minimum salary of $45,000 for reporters and editors;
  • For bargaining unit members hired prior to January 1, 2014, a $5,000 raise (up to a maximum of $50,000);
  • For bargaining unit members earning up to $60,000 a year, a 2.5% raise;
  • For bargaining unit members earning between $60,000 and $110,000, a 2% raise;
  • guaranteed minimum salary of $36,000 for editorial assistants;
  • Revenue sharing equal to 1% of ThinkProgress’s 2015 ad revenue divided in equal dollar amounts among the bargaining unit;
  • An additional .5% of total ad revenue will be paid out at CAP’s discretion as a merit-based bonus (but this will have no effect on other merit-based increases that CAP may provide)

The contract also includes:

 

  • Paid Family Leave: Bargaining unit members will receive 12 weeks paid leave if they have a child, whether through birth or adoption.
  • Editorial Independence: Editorial decisions will rest with either the Editor-in-Chief or with their designee (normally a senior editor) within ThinkProgress’ editorial staff.
  • Job Security: Bargaining unit members may only be terminated for just cause; for issues involving work product, that is, posts that go up on ThinkProgress, CAP must provide notice and an opportunity to improve. Anyone laid off will receive severance pay.
  • Health Benefits: The contract provides that CAP must continue to pay the same percentage of the health benefit premiums that it currently pays; If CAP decides to change plans, it must use best efforts to find a substantially similar plan; if it cannot, it must sit down with the Guild to negotiate any changes;
  • 401(k): CAP will continue to provide the 401(k) with automatic 3% Employer Contribution and 2% Profit Sharing to bargaining unit employees.
  • Paid Time Off: Bargaining unit members will continue to receive the same amounts of paid time off for the duration of the contract unless CAP increases the amount of PTO during the term of the agreement.

THINKPROGRESS WRITERS JOIN UNION

To:
Neera Tanden
President of the Center for American Progress

 

We, the staff of ThinkProgress, are excited to announce that we have decided to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East. Today, we are asking the management of ThinkProgress and the Center for American Progress to voluntarily recognize the Guild as our collective bargaining representative.

 

Both ThinkProgress and the Center for American Progress have long publicized the many benefits of unionization for individual workers, the middle and working class, and the economy as a whole. Just this month, CAP released groundbreaking research on what unions can do to promote social mobility in America. Here at ThinkProgress, we believe having a union will help us protect and elevate the good conditions we currently enjoy in our workplace, both for ourselves and for all who come after us. This security will ensure we continue to create the cutting-edge, high-quality and editorially independent journalism ThinkProgress is known for long into the future.

 

Forming a union allows us to live many of the values we lift up in our reporting and join a growing movement among digital journalists. Traditional print media has a long history of unionization — which secured many of the rights and privileges we enjoy today — and a growing number of newer, online outlets have recently decided to carry on that tradition by organizing.

 

Just this year, organizing drives at Gawker, Salon, Vice, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera have inspired us, because we know their fight for a voice in the workplace is our fight too. We’re proud to be part of this moment and this movement in our industry and hope our participation helps digital media workers everywhere.

 

We look forward to working together with management to make the journalism at ThinkProgress even more insightful and successful through a positive collective bargaining process.

 

Thank you,

ThinkProgress Workers Union