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Ziwe, Desus Nice, The Kid Mero, Lilly Wachowski and other Writers Guild of America East members that work on Showtime titles are calling on Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc to reach a “fair and equitable” contract with the union. The new Vice contract, which is currently in its last days of scheduled negotiation, will consolidate four previously separate WGA East contracts, and will cover members working on Vice’s series on Showtime.
The letter, signed by over 40 union members on shows like Billions, City on a Hill and Work in Progress and sent to the CEO on Wednesday, tells Dubuc, “We urge VICE management to quickly reach a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement with VICE Union that builds on their previous existing contracts, and shows the company’s commitment to being a progressive leader in the media industry.” Other signatories of the letter include Work in Progress‘ Amanda Blake Davis and Samantha Irby, Ziwe‘s Cole Escola, City on a Hill‘s Tom Fontana and Desus & Mero‘s Josh Gondelman.
It adds, “We are proud that VICE now airs on Showtime, and believe the series is a great extension of the VICE brand. Throughout the pandemic, and before it, VICE’s workers have demonstrated a real commitment to their work and the brands that they have built.”
The Vice Media negotiations with the WGA East are scheduled to end on Monday, Dec. 6 and the two sides are said to still be at odds over key issues. In a statement, Vice Media Group said, “Since 2015, VICE Media Group has long had a positive partnership with its union employees. As VMG was one of the first digital publishing brands to partner with the union, we continue to have a productive working relationship with the WGA. While we won’t comment on ongoing negotiations, we remain committed to making progress toward a new agreement even if it requires additional bargaining dates.”
In a statement about the letter, WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson said that Vice union members “are still fighting for a collective bargaining agreement that includes reasonable pay minimums, successorship protections, budget for DEI, mental health support, and work from home reimbursements.” He added, “It is time for VICE to agree to a fair and equitable contract that builds upon their past contracts and fosters a workplace environment that allows employees to produce award-winning content across the company’s television and digital operations.”
On Wednesday, Vice Union and WGA East Council member Sara David tweeted that management would not define work hours or offer over a 2 percent raise. Last month, the Vice Union Twitter account claimed that an employer counter on the union’s salary floor proposals had been slow in coming. Contract negotiations began in October.
In previous rounds of talks, the WGA East — which bargains on behalf of over 320 Vice employees — negotiated separate contracts for four verticals at the company: Vice Editorial, Viceland, Vice News and Vice Digital. Viceland, Vice News and Vice Digital ratified their first collective bargaining agreements in 2019, while Vice Editorial has had a ratified agreement since 2016.
In August, 17 staffers at Vice Digital and Vice Media-owned Refinery 29 were laid off in what the companies’ unions called a “macabre annual ritual” at the company. The company had announced the previous month a plan to focus more of its efforts on video and visual stories and reduce its output of written stories.
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