March 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Editorial staff at Gawker Media won the first union contract ever at a digital media company, the Writers Guild of America East announced Feb. 29. The three-year pact will give the 99 union members a 3% raise each year, and sets a minimum salary of $50,000 for full-time employees, $70,000 for senior writers and editors, and $90,000 for deputy editors.
Gawker, which owns Jezebel, Deadspin, and Gizmodo, did not oppose the unionization effort. “Once we get the contract in place, some of the other places in the industry that screw their writers a lot worse than we do will be able to have something to hold up and say: ‘This is the industry standard,’” said senior writer Hamilton Nolan. The contract will require full-time freelancers to be hired as permanent staff or laid off after one year, but does not include a provision stating that workers can only be fired for cause. WGA-E head Lowell Peterson said the members didn’t want to push for such a provision, with some saying, “We would like the company to be able to get rid of this person if there are differences as long as they get a good severance.” Read more