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Seemingly averting a threatened strike, a union at Parcast has reached a tentative agreement with Spotify and Parcast management on a first contract covering the podcast studio’s content writers, fact-checkers, producers, researchers and other workers.
The Parcast Union — which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East — announced the deal on Wednesday night, their final day of bargaining with the music streaming giant and the Spotify-owned podcast studio, and are not yet disclosing terms of the tentative agreement. “After months of regular meetings, late-night emails, private calls, & full unit efforts, we’re proud to announce we have a deal,” the union tweeted on Wednesday night. “We couldn’t have done it without the consistent support of our colleagues. It’s been a worthwhile journey, and we thank all who helped us fight.” Spotify declined to comment.
The deal will now be scrutinized by the Parcast bargaining unit and will subsequently be voted on by the WGA East Council and the bargaining unit. The deal terms are expected to be similar to those in contracts for WGA East-affiliated podcast unions The Ringer and Gimlet, companies that are also owned by Spotify.
The tentative deal arrives about a year and a half after Parcast workers first announced they were unionizing in Sept. 2020, with the hopes of making changes to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, workers’ workloads, role transparency and compensation and intellectual property policies. About a month later, Parcast voluntarily recognized the union and, according to the union, bargaining on a contract subsequently took place over 15 months. During that time, members became very vocal on Twitter about company issues that they wanted to change and union staffers at Parcast and other podcast production companies owned by Spotify sent a letter to the company and Parcast, calling on them to agree to one key DEI priority for the union in negotiations: a requirement that half of all job candidates who go beyond a recruiter phone interview come from underrepresented backgrounds. As negotiations got down to the wire, on Monday the union said it shared a “strike pledge” that 96 percent of members had signed with management.
Besides their members at Parcast, the WGA East also bargains on behalf of workers at Spotify-owned The Ringer and Gimlet Media: Those two unions ratified their first contracts in 2021. In February, a WGA East-affiliated union at iHeartPodcast Network won voluntary recognition from management.
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