Vox Media Union has reached a tentative deal with management on a new contract the weekend before its current agreement expired, seemingly averting a threatened strike.
The Writers Guild of America East group, which represents editorial and video staffers in collective bargaining across brands including Polygon and Eater, announced the deal on Saturday after a compromise was struck that afternoon. The union’s first agreement was set to expire at 12 a.m. ET on Monday, June 13, and the union had taken some initial steps to mounting a strike after, though a work stoppage still wasn’t a sure thing: 95 percent of union members had signed a strike pledge, and the WGA East Council unanimously voted to authorize a strike, but unit members still would have needed to vote to authorize a strike.
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“This contract would not have been possible without the incredible solidarity we saw from our more than 360 members, a vast majority of whom took to Slack, Twitter, and elsewhere to hold management’s feet to the fire as we worked to secure the wage increases and benefits that all of our members deserve,” the Vox Media bargaining committee said in a statement. “95 percent of our members pledged to strike starting Monday, June 13 if an agreement wasn’t reached, and that’s what got this contract to the finish line. We are so proud of their collective action, and can’t wait to share more details as soon as our unit votes to ratify this industry-leading contract. “
Vox Media Union members are set to participate in a ratification vote for the tentative agreement this week. Details of the agreement will be revealed once that vote has taken place, the union said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Vox Media said that the company is “proud” of the tentative deal they reached with the union. “This package is the product of months of bargaining, and we’re grateful to the committees on both sides of the table,” the spokesperson added. “The agreement reflects our commitment to investing in our employees and being the place where they can do their best work.”
The tentative deal was reached after about six months of negotiations, during which time bargaining unit members said that they were advocating for raises and benefits that take inflation into account, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and contract language that retains union benefits in the event of a sale or merger, among other points. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in early June, The Verge senior reviewer and Vox Media Union member Monica Chin said that the union was pushing primarily to give members at Vox “stable and satisfying long-term careers.”
The strike threat at Vox Media followed just months after the WGA East-backed union at G/O Media (whose brands include Gizmodo and A.V. Club) went on a five-day strike in March during tough contract negotiations. Vox Media Union’s first agreement itself was reached after union members participated in a one-day walkout on the last day of scheduled talks in June 2019.