The Onion employees who are part of a company union have voted to ratify a new three-year contract with the satiric media platform’s parent company, G/O Media, days after writers reached a new tentative collective bargaining agreement.
“We’re thrilled about this deal that addresses our unit’s top concerns,” the Onion Union said in a statement following the contract’s ratification, “and we’re so grateful to every person who showed support throughout our bargaining process. Our unit’s strength and solidarity, together with our incredible labor allies, got us here.”
Just a week ago, staff members were preparing to hit the picket lines after the Writers Guild of America East voted to authorize a strike at the Onion if a new deal couldn’t be reached before the expiration date of their old contract last Wednesday, Jan. 31. The union and G/O reached a tentative deal hours later that same day.
On Tuesday, the Onion Union — a 36-member-bargaining group that represents the editorial staff of the Onion, the A.V. Club, Deadspin and the Takeout — solidified a new contract package that includes policy promises on artificial intelligence, gender-neutral parental leave and raises in minimum starting salaries.
“The new three-year agreement sees The Onion Union make meaningful contractual gains, including raising the minimum starting salary by $10,000 to $60,000 in the first year of the contract, and up to $64,000 in the final year of the contract,” reads a release sent to TheWrap. “More than 25% of the unit were making under $60,000 and the lowest paid employees will see an immediate pay increase of $7,000. The contract guarantees 3% raises in each subsequent year of the agreement.”
G/O has agreed to implement policies on the company’s use of artificial intelligence within one year.
“The Guild must receive 20-day notice of any AI policy changes and the company must consider the union’s input in good faith,” the release continues. “Further, stories, articles or graphics created by [generative AI], in part or in whole, shall first be reviewed by an editorial employee and will have distinct signifiers in the byline indicating that the content is GAI-generated.”
The new agreement also gives staffers more guaranteed holidays, an increase in parental leave and World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) health care benefits.
“I am so proud of Guild members in The Onion Union for standing up and fighting for a fair deal,” the Writers Guild’s Sara David said in a statement. “This contract includes meaningful gains in pay, AI protections, severance, and successorship, all of which must be found in online media contracts as the industry faces constant consolidation and layoffs. The Onion Union’s contract win is further proof that the best way workers can protect themselves and their coworkers is by unionizing their workplace.”