Saturday, August 28, 2010

WBBM Web News Writers Vote For WGAE Representation

By Elana Levin
Director of Communications
Writers Guild of America, East

First Digital News Workers to Become WGAE Members

NEW YORK CITY -- In a first for the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), web news writer/producers at Chicago CBS station WBBM voted unanimously to be represented by the Writers Guild, East on August 26th. These are the first news writer/producers working exclusively on web content to join the WGAE, the union that has long represented CBS News employees writing for television and radio.

“This victory for web writers demonstrates that even in the digital age writers want the strength union representation provides. The news industry is shifting to digital platforms and their decision to join us helps ensure that writing and producing news continues to be a good job into the 21st Century,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson.

WBBM web writer Michael Ramsey said, “We voted to join the Guild because we want the stability and voice on the job that a union provides. We are proud to be the first web news writers and web producers to join the Guild, but I’m sure we won’t be the last. Web writers and producers may work in a different medium than the writers the Guild traditionally represents, but our needs are essentially the same. WBBM previously indicated they would negotiate with us in good faith if we chose to organize, and we are looking forward to sitting down with management to negotiate an initial contract.”

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.

For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit

Broadcast Union News: I agree with the comment by Elana Levin, Director of Communications at WGAE; "Having the News writers at the CBS TV affiliate in Chicago vote to join the Writers Guild of America, East is a big deal because as we all know, news is moving online. Soon that's all there will be. Why can someone writing for a TV screen at CBS have union representation but someone writing for the computer screen for CBS can't? We're fixing that. This organizing victory is an important precedent." Yes it is, Well done WGAE! - BD

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