The writers and producers at Gimlet Media and The Ringer both ratified first collective bargaining agreements with the Writers Guild of America, East. The agreements guarantee raises salaries and eliminates advertisers from making publishing decisions.
Gimlet Media and The Ringer are owned by Spotify and are two of the first podcast production companies to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)
The WGAE negotiated both agreements concurrently set for three years, and the contracts were unanimously ratified by the 48 bargaining unit members at Gimlet Media and 65 bargaining unit members at The Ringer.
In addition to raises in salary and more job security, the bargain will increase diversity in hiring as well. Here’s all the details:
- Significant increases to salary minimums, with The Ringer establishing $57,000 plus overtime as an entry-level floor, and Gimlet Media beginning at $73,000 for Associate Producers.
- Minimum of 2% guaranteed annual increases.
- Establishment of new senior titles.
- Minimum severance of 11 weeks for all employees, regardless of tenure.
- Limitations on the use of contractors within bargaining unit positions. Contractors must either be offered a full-time job after 10 months, or the companies must inform them 30 days in advance that there will not be a position available for them.
- Spotify benefits, with no change in benefits for the duration of the contract.
- Editorial standards that guarantee that the company will not modify or fail to publish content based on the direction of advertisers and that bargaining unit employees will not be required to work on advertising and branded content.
- Funding for Diversity Committees, with representatives from both management and the bargaining unit.
- Language guaranteeing that 50% of candidates for open unit positions who make it to the stage after the phone interview will be from traditionally under-represented groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, military veterans).
- Elimination of post-employment non-compete agreements for all employees who make under $155,000, and removal of post-employment non-competes in individual agreements.
- Formation of a Labor Management Committee.
- Just cause and union security.
The Ringer’s Bargaining Committee said, “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.”
Gimlet Media’s Bargaining Committee said, “Our union began as an effort to improve diversity, pay equity, and pathways to promotion at Gimlet. We are proud that this first contract includes provisions that take 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.”
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, added, “The collective bargaining agreements at Gimlet Media and The Ringer demonstrate that the people who make podcasts, from writers to producers to editors, bring enormous value to the major platforms for whom they create content. Collective bargaining ensures creative professionals have a seat at the table to address issues like inclusion and equity, intellectual property concerns, and sustainability of careers.”