CBSN Ratifies WGA East Contract, a First at Live-Streaming News Services

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The agreement provides across-the-board pay increases of three percent per year.

The Writers Guild of America East has negotiated a first collective bargaining agreement with CBSN, the first anchored live-streaming news service to be unionized, the union said Wednesday. The new agreement was unanimously ratified by the more than 65 writers, producers, and graphic artists in the Guild-represented bargaining unit.

The agreement provides across-the-board pay increases of three percent per year and a wide range of other improvements involving overtime, long work weeks, sick days and the like, as well as a commitment to diversity and clarification of job titles and descriptions.

“CBSN represents the future of live news, and we are very pleased to have negotiated an excellent contract,” said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson, who was the union’s chief negotiator. “Our hard-working and dedicated bargaining committee made a compelling case to management on all of the top priority issues."

Added Peterson, "To the company’s credit, their negotiators and managers took these concerns seriously and agreed to provisions addressing all of them. This contract proves that a mobilized and engaged membership, and a tenacious focus on priority issues, can really make a difference in the workplace. Collective bargaining works."

CBS did not respond to a request for comment.

“We are thrilled with our first union contract and proud of all our colleagues who stood together to win it,” said the CBSN Bargaining Committee. “We are also grateful for all the support from our fellow Guild members at CBS and across the industry.”

The union thanked its members at CBS News’ broadcast operations and the members who write dramas and comedies for the network, who expressed solidarity by signing petitions, visiting CBSN and tweeting their support.

The WGAE represents nearly 6,000 writers in film, television, news and new media, including those in newsrooms at ABC News, CBS News, Committee to Protect Journalists, The Dodo, Fast Company, Fox 5 WNYW-TV, Future plc, Gimlet Media, G/O Media, HuffPost, The Intercept, MTV News, Refinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, 1010 WINS, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET), Thrillist, VICE, Vox Media and WBBM / CBS 2 News.

In Los Angeles, the WGA West is more focused on film and television, but does represent writers at CBS News on the West Coast. The two WGA unions are separate but affiliated, and work jointly in key dealings with the entertainment industry, such as film/TV contract negotiations and the writers’ battle with talent agencies.