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Vice Media and its Writers Guild of America East-affiliated union have reached a new three-year contract agreement that consolidates four previously separate contracts. Vice Media’s 160-person bargaining unit has voted to ratify the contract.
The agreement, which the guild announced on Friday and said was a “landmark” deal, raises minimum salaries to $63,000 by the end of the three-year term and offers members minimum annual raises of 3 percent to 3.75 percent. The agreement synthesizes previously separate contracts at verticals Vice Editorial, Vice TV, Vice News and Vice Digital.
The guild says the new, combined contract keeps benefits from the previous and separate agreements while making new gains. The new agreement offers a “retention bonus” of $1,000 for those on payroll when it was ratified and also in early 2023; eradicates NDAs regarding sexual harassment complaints; institutes anti-harassment and cybersecurity measures for employees, including those who have been laid off, of up to a year; and offers certain employees flagged by the company’s security team safe housing or other security protections. The agreement also offers members a guaranteed severance of up to 18 weeks with “increased” terms and higher employer health flex plan contributions (now $22 a day) for non-Vice payrolled employees.
“The VICE Union is stronger than ever, and is proud of our members for coming together and fighting for our third and best contract yet,” the Vice Bargaining Committee said in a statement.
Vice Media Group said in its own statement, “VICE Media Group are thrilled to have reached a new agreement with The Writers Guild and as we look ahead, our long standing partnership will continue to grow stronger.”
The contract announcement arrives about two weeks after Showtime talent who are also members of the WGA East wrote a letter to Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc asking the company to reach a “fair and equitable” contract with the union. (This contract covers writers working on Vice’s series on Showtime.)
Over the course of negotiations, which began in October, the Vice Media union’s Twitter account claimed that management was asking the union to accept “worse terms” than in past contracts and was “refusing to budge on basic things, like simply defining our work hours.” Earlier in 2021 the company announced that it would cut down on its number of written stories in a pivot to emphasize video and visual storytelling.
Adds WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson of the new Vice Media contract, “Thanks to a unified and strong union, workers across VICE will now work under one collective bargaining agreement. This new contract and its substantial gains are a testament to the VICE bargaining committee’s diligent efforts to address the concerns and aspirations of workers at a company that continue to grow within the ever-shifting media landscape.”
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