Amid a wave of layoffs sweeping across the media industry, writers and editors at CBS News Digital have formed a union with WGA East for the purpose of collective bargaining.
An “overwhelming” majority of CBS News Digital’s 46-member bargaining unit signed union cards on Monday, Feb. 5, according to WGA East — and they are asking management to recognize the union. The union covers workers at CBS News digital platforms including CBSNews.com, its mobile website, social-media channels and the CBS News app.
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The WGA East’s broadcast/cable/streaming news sector recently won a first collective bargaining agreement at MSNBC and a second contract at CBS News Streaming. WGA East also represents workers at CBS News, as well as 1010 WINS, ABC News, Audacy (WCBS-AM, WBBM-AM, and KNX-AM), Fox 5 WNYW-TV, NBC Promo Writers, Thirteen Productions (Thirteen/WNET) and WBBM/CBS 2 News.
Asked for comment, a CBS News spokesperson said, “We have great respect for our Digital News team and highly value their contributions to our organization. We are currently reviewing the matter and we look forward to working through this process.”
“The WGAE already represents workers at CBS News and CBS News Streaming, and it is incumbent on CBS’s management to recognize CBS News Digital’s demand for voluntary recognition of their union,” Kathy McGee, WGA East VP of broadcast/cable/streaming news and a writer-producer at CBS News New York, said in a statement.
McGee continued, “We are seeing unprecedented mergers, consolidation and layoffs in the news industry. Journalists are telling stories and lifting voices in communities that are often ignored. The most responsible thing media workers can do is to form a union to win critical workplace protection.”
The CBS News Digital Union submitted a letter to management titled “Why We’re Organizing.” The union outlined four areas that it hopes to address with the company:
Transparency: Open and honest communication is essential in our industry, and we want to ensure that management is consulting with employees on major decisions that affect CBS News Digital.”
Equitable and Fair Compensation and Benefits: We want to ensure that we are being paid fair, respectable and liveable salaries. We need clear and comprehensive job descriptions, competitive compensation, fair benefits and financial recognition for taking on extra projects and working holidays, weekends and nights. We want a standard for raises and a streamlined pathway to grow within CBS News.
Diversity: To create content that is truly reflective of America, we need to have a diverse and inclusive team. It is vital to our mission as journalists to show all viewpoints and have employees from all backgrounds. We want a workplace where every employee is treated equally and will receive the respect they deserve.
Editorial standards: As employees of one of the most prestigious and well-respected news organizations in the world, excellence is demanded of us every day. We want standard guidelines around what will be produced editorially and be allowed to produce outstanding quality journalism.
The CBS News Digital Union’s letter concluded: “We look forward to meeting you at the bargaining table!”
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