Writers Guild of America, East announced that the writers and producers at Gimlet Media and The Ringer, two of the first podcast production companies to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), both ratified first collective bargaining agreements. Gimlet Media and The Ringer are owned by Spotify.
The Guild negotiated both three-year agreements concurrently, and the contracts were unanimously ratified by the 48 bargaining unit members at Gimlet Media and 65 bargaining unit members at The Ringer.
Both of the groundbreaking union contracts include:
- 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.
- Establishment of new senior titles.
- 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.
- Minimum of 2% guaranteed annual increases.
- Minimum severance of 11 weeks for all employees, regardless of tenure.
- 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.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “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.”