Staffers at Parcast who are unionized with the Writers Guild of America East have voted unanimously to ratify their first union contract.
In a ratification vote, 100 percent of the bargaining unit — composed of 56 members including content writers, fact-checkers, producers, researchers and other workers — voted “yes” on the tentative deal reached between the union and Parcast management as well as Spotify (which owns the studio) on April 6.
The three-year contract establishes two percent salary increases for every year of the contract, a 12-hour rest period between work days, an annual diversity committee budget of $100,000, no changes to health benefits during the contract, 11 weeks’ minimum severance with more time added for more senior employees, the addition of new, senior job titles and four weeks’ notice when shows are canceled or majorly changed. The deal also includes “career development language” that provides for habitual performance reviews, the ability for employees to meet with managers to pitch new shows, the means to review job descriptions and receive feedback on job applications. Quarterly reports on management’s plans for content and language around subcontracting non-union employees to do work protected by the contract are also included. The WGA East announced the ratification results and contract details on Monday.
The union also did win a diversity, equity and inclusion priority that negotiators pushed for, which would require that half of all job candidates surpassing the initial phone interview stage come from underrepresented backgrounds. That diversity goal must be reached by the end of the contract, according to the union.
According to the union, the contract will result in raises for all employees, with an average raise in the first year of the contract being 7.12 percent per person. The union adds that Parcast Union’s minimum annual salary will now be about $70,000 plus overtime, and that all workers in the unit with the lowest salaries received promotions as a result of the contract.
“It was a long road, with 15 months of bargaining, to get this deal. We’re very happy with the terms of our new Union contract, which we all fought together to achieve,” the Parcast Bargaining Committee said in a statement. “Our unit demonstrated amazing solidarity, all the way to the point of signing a strike pledge, and we’re pleased to be able to move forward together into the next chapter of our effort.”
The vote concludes a process that began in Oct. 2020, when the Parcast Union was voluntarily recognized by management and began working towards a first agreement. Bargaining took place over the course of 15 months, with union members becoming increasingly vocal in the last few months, culminating in workers presenting a “strike pledge” signed by 96 percent of union members to management. A tentative deal was announced the night of the final day of bargaining between both parties.
WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson added in a statement, “More and more audiences listen to well-crafted podcasts, and this agreement demonstrates that collective bargaining works in this critical sector.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.