The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Writers Guild of America East announced on Wednesday that the two sides have come to terms on CPJ’s first union contract, signing a collective bargaining agreement that will last through 2023.
The deal comes after a year of negotiations between the press freedom organization and the Writers Guild, during which over 600 WGA East members — including Amy Schumer and David Simon — signed a petition urging CPJ to agree to a contract.
“We are elated that we finally made it to the finish line after a year of tough negotiations,” the CPJ bargaining committee said in a statement. “We’re proud of the contract we’ve bargained and believe it will improve our workplace and make us stronger as an organization. We are especially grateful to WGAE’s support in helping us get to this point, and ensuring CPJ is a more equitable workplace.”
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Among the provisions for CPJ employees in the contract are a minimum annual budget of $58,000 for assistants, with a 3.25% raise retroactive to January 1 of this year and annual salary increases of 2.25% in 2021, 2.5% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023. Health, vision, dental and life insurance is guaranteed, along with up to 20 weeks of severance pay and a remote work policy.
“This collective bargaining agreement demonstrates the Committee to Protect Journalists commitment to a welcoming and innovative workplace for Guild-represented employees,” WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson said in a statement. “It shows that employees who form a union can build upon what they love about the place they work and win real gains at the bargaining table.”
Since 1981, the Committee to Protect Journalists has monitored press freedom issues around the world and tracked how many journalists each year have been arrested or killed in the process of reporting news. In 2009, the CPJ was awarded the WGA East’s Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes a person or an organization “whose contributions have brought honor and dignity to writers everywhere.”