- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The Ringer and Gimlet Media unions have both ratified collective bargaining agreements with owner Spotify, the Writers Guild of America East announced Tuesday.
The three-year agreements covering writers and producers were unanimously ratified by Gimlet Media’s 48 bargaining unit members and The Ringer’s 65 bargaining unit members, per the WGA East. The agreement provides a $57,000 minimum salary at The Ringer (plus overtime) and a $73,000 minimum salary for associate producers at Gimlet Media, sets restrictions on the use of outside contractors in bargaining unit positions and provides a minimum 2 percent annual raise for covered employees.
“We began this process with the aim of improving working conditions and compensation at the company, especially for our lowest-paid members. We’re thrilled to have achieved that goal with this contract,” The Ringer Bargaining Committee said in a statement about the ratification.
“Our union began as an effort to improve diversity, pay equity, and pathways to promotion at Gimlet,” Gimlet Media’s Bargaining Committee added. “We are proud that this first contract includes provisions that takes steps forward on all of these issues. We also look forward to maintaining more open discussions with management to ensure that we continue to make progress on all these fronts, and more.”
The union contracts additionally stipulate the creation of new senior titles; 11 weeks’ severance for all employees; no change to Spotify benefits during the contract; the establishment of editorial guidelines that state “the company will not modify or fail to publish content based on the direction of advertisers” and that unionized employees will not be required to work on branded or advertising content; the formation of a labor committee and funding for diversity committees; and a guarantee that half of job candidates called back for an interview after a phone interview for unionized positions will be from underrepresented groups, among other conditions.
In March 2019, Gimlet Media became the first podcasting company to unionize with the WGA East, just one month after the company was acquired by Spotify for a reported $230 million. The union was voluntarily recognized by management in April. The Ringer employees, for their part, announced their intention to unionize in August 2019 and the union was voluntarily recognized by management days later.
Gimlet Media’s work culture made headlines earlier this year as its popular podcast Reply All aired a series focused on a toxic office culture at Bon Appétit magazine. During the r0llout of the series, former coworkers of senior reporter Sruthi Pinnamaneni and co-host P.J. Vogt claimed the pair had resisted the company’s unionization efforts and initiatives to boost staff diversity in late 2018 and early 2019; both Vogt and Pinnamaneni stepped down from the show following the allegations and apologized and Reply All has been on hiatus since.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported on The Ringer employees’ diversity concerns in a story last June that followed up on a tweet thread from the Ringer Union. In response, The Ringer founder Bill Simmons said on his podcast that the organization had not done “well enough” in bringing a greater array of people into the office. “I wish it had been a bigger priority for us to really make a bigger commitment to diversity than we did,” he added.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day