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Thrillist Staff Ratifies First Union Contract Through Writers Guild of America

The editorial staff at the Thrillist entertainment website has unanimously ratified its first union contract as the Writers Guild of America East boosts its presence in the digital news world.

The announcement makes Thrillist the latest in a growing list of digital news sites that have unionized with the WGA East in the last three years. The union, which has around 5,000 members, currently represents about 1,300 professionals at digital news sites including Fast Company, Talking Points Memo, the Dodo, Thrillist, Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, Vice, the Intercept, ThinkProgress, MTV News, Salon, Slate, and Gizmodo Media Group.

The contract, which was negotiated for a year with Thrillist owner Group Nine Media, includes a $50,000 minimum starting salary and wage increases of 8.5% in the first year and 2.5% in the second and third year; eight weeks of paid parental leave (at the employee’s regular salary) for primary care providers; and four weeks of paid parental leave (at the employee’s regular salary) for secondary care providers.

Thrillist’s editorial staff staged a one-day walkout in August that culminated with the first-ever vote to authorize a strike at a digital news site, according to the guild. The WGA East’s campaign included a solidarity statement signed by 300 film and television writers that was hand-delivered to Thrillist’s management by WGA East president Beau Willimon.

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said, “The hard work of the WGAE negotiating committee, backed by the solidarity of the entire bargaining unit, have made this excellent agreement possible. Collective bargaining works; people who craft content can make concrete improvements in their pay and working conditions by unionizing, and can gain a real voice on the job.”

(Pictured: Lowell Peterson.)

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