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Committee to Protect Journalists, WGAE Reach Contract Accord

CPJ's logo
(Image credit: CPJ)

The folks who work to protect journalists around the globe now have the protection of a union contract.

The Writers Guild of America East said it has struck it has reached an agreement with the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Amy Schumer and other high-profile members of WGAE last month signed a petition in support of approximately 50 CPJ staffers seeking union representation.

The three-year agreement was the result of a year's worth of negotiations. WGAE and the employees had sought, among other things, health and retirement benefits codified, increased pay minimums, and raises, and they appeared to have gotten all three.

In addition to the codified benefits, according to WGAE, the contract includes a minimum starting salary of $58,000 for full-time members at the assistant level, increasing to $60,000 by the end of the contract. Interns will get $20 per hour.

All employees get a 4.25% raise retroactive to Jan. 1, then increases of 2.25% in 2021, and 2.5% in 2022 and again in 2023.

Employees will get up to 20 weeks severance.

On the diversity front, CPJ will track hiring data and provide it to the union and CPJ's diversity committee will get a third party to do an assessment of the diversity "climate" at the organization.

Not surprising in the age of COVID-19, the contract also includes a remote work policy.

Finally, when the contract is ratified, the employees get a one-time $250 bonus.

“This collective bargaining agreement demonstrates the Committee to Protect Journalists commitment to a welcoming and innovative workplace for Guild-represented employees," said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson. "It shows that employees who form a union can build upon what they love about the place they work and win real gains at the bargaining table.”

In announcing the contract, WGAE pointed out that it had given CPJ an award in 2009 for bringing "honor and dignity to writers everywhere" as it worked to defend the freedom of the press.