Entertainment & Arts

Jewish Currents Approves First Contract With WGA East

Jewish Currents and the WGA East have reached their first-ever collective bargaining agreement. The new three-year contract was unanimously approved by digital news outlet’s seven-member editorial staff. It will bring all salaries above $60,000 by the end of the contract and provides for 4% pay raises in the first and third years, and 3% in the second.

Quality-of-life benefits are state-of-the-industry. They include:

• Six-month sabbatical after four years; one month after two years
• 20 vacation days after third year
• Comp time for work on weekends and evenings
• 40-hour workweek
• Health insurance for everyone working 20 hours or more a week
• $1,000 yearly stipend for professional development

The contract also provides for the “Double Rooney Rule” to ensure that applicants include people who are Black; Indigenous; people of color, including Palestinians and Jews of color; people who identify as LGBTQ; people with disabilities; and people from lower-income socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Rooney Rule, adopted by the NFL in 2003, required every team with a head-coaching vacancy to interview at least one or more diverse candidates. It was expanded in 2009 to include general manager jobs and equivalent front office positions. It was named after Dan Rooney, the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The new contract, which contains “just cause” firing provisions and a union security clause, also allows the bargaining unit to send a representative to attend Jewish Currents’ board meetings.

“The editorial staff at Jewish Currents won a contract that includes fair pay, benefits, work-hours, and a seat at the table with the board of directors,” WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson said. “It is through the power of collective bargaining that workers can win a real voice in their work life.”

Founded in 1946 and relaunched in 2018, Jewish Currents is a daily digital and quarterly print publication covering the Jewish left, and the left more broadly. Its editorial staff organized with the guild in July 2020 and received immediate voluntary recognition by the company.

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