The unionization effort among Huffington Post editorial employees that began in late 2015 has been brought to a successful conclusion today with the ratification of a three-year union contract. The contract covers more than 200 Huffington Post employees, who will all receive at least a 3 percent raise with the possibility of higher wage increases over the course of the contract for some employees, among other benefits such as two-month severance pay. The contract also ties salary minimums to specific job titles, enforces a strict wall between creators of editorial content and those of native advertising/branded content and lists improving diversity among staff as a goal.
Last month, ratification of the contract with the union that had been voluntarily recognized by the Huffington Post early on was not a foregone conclusion, with talks stalling over the money issue, but that is now in the past.
Judging by the statements issued by management and members of the The Huffington Post Bargaining Committee, it is a contract both sides are happy with. “It shows what a newsroom can accomplish when it decides to come together and bargain collectively,” wrote the bargaining committee. “We’re grateful to the company for working with us toward such a strong and fair first contract.”
Huffington Post CEO Jared Grusd wrote in a statement that “We are very pleased to have worked collaboratively with the WGAE to have reached this agreement,” referencing Writers Guild of America, East, which represents Huffington Post employees. “We remain committed to providing growth opportunities for all of our talented and dedicated editorial and video staff,” he continued.
Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has been the rep of choice for many digital organizations that have been part of a wave of recent unionization efforts, including the editorial staff of Vice, Gizmodo Media Group (née Gawker Media Group), Fusion, The Root, ThinkProgress and Salon.
Huffington Post is the largest organization of those represented by WGAE with contracts in place, bringing the total of WGAE-represented digital journalists with contracts to 500.