The union that represents Slate’s podcast and print workers has announced what it calls a “win-win” deal that will save the publication money during a time of economic stress, while also allowing workers to remain “financially whole.” It is doing that through a new work-share program that will allow Slate to reduce union members’ hours and pay by 20% through July 31. That move will enable employees to seek out federal dollars which, through the end of next month, will give those out of work an additional $600 as part of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
As Slate itself reported earlier in May when the Los Angeles Times struck a similar deal with its employees, a Slate employee at its New York office who had their hours cut 20% as part of a work-sharing agreement would have been eligible for $101 per week. But after passage of the CARES Act, that same person would see an extra $701 per week. “We’re thrilled that our union was able to work with management to make this happen,” the union said in a Twitter post.
The Writers Guild-East said that it has also secured an agreement from Slate to draft new editorial guidelines regarding “racist terminology” for the online magazine’s editorial and podcast staffs in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Slate management has reportedly vowed to discuss its content standard and deadlines to address complaints raised by union members about the use of racially-charged language.
The Writers Guild of America-East, which is under the AFL-CIO umbrella, has unionized a number of new media shops during the past few years. It also represents digital media staffs at Gimlet Media, Gizmodo, Vox Media, VICE, Huff Post, Refinery29, The Onion, Thrillist, The Dodo, The Intercept, and Salon, among others.