From the President | Health & Safety in our Workplaces
As we meet the demands of never-ending news, it’s more important than ever to safeguard your health. At the same time that government officials are advising individuals and businesses about how best to prepare for a potential COVID-19 outbreak, NewsGuild representatives are gathering information to protect you. In anticipation of how this virus could affect our workplaces, we’re asking employers about internal communication procedures, what plans they have to enable you to work remotely, and what safety measures and travel protocols are in the pipeline for employees. Guild reps, unit chairs, and officers will be following up with you as we get updates.
While we want to be sure we’re addressing urgent issues like this one, we are continuing to also focus on long-term goals. One particularly timely concern is contract language that protects employees from the dangerous silence of non-disclosure agreements, while a perennial priority remains demanding employers put meaningful resources into diversifying our workplaces.
We are taking an aggressive stance on NDAs, which are never appropriate or acceptable as a silencing mechanism to conceal harassment and discrimination. As our industry and others grapple with the damaging effects of these agreements, some of our shops are ahead of the curve. Both New York Magazine and The Daily Beast have already tentatively agreed to proposals lifting NDAs retroactively and prohibiting them in the future. This is historic for our industry and sets a standard that we should advocate for in all of our contracts.
You may have read that our members pushed Condé Nast to abandon NDAs as well. While that company said publicly it would stop using these agreements, management is only revoking these agreements on a case-by-case basis. We disagree with this approach, as it still leaves open the potential of harm to current employees. Instead, our New Yorker, Ars Technica and Pitchfork bargaining committees are urging Condé management to release all NDAs related to harassment or discrimination. These victories make clear that NDAs have no place in a modern media company. We will no longer tolerate the use of such tactics to protect those in power while suppressing worker reports of harassment and discriminatory behavior.
To help us in identifying areas that need action and get all our members’ perspectives on diversity and related issues, please make sure to complete our anonymous demographic census. Our collective work is our most effective tool to enact change, and it’s the best path to ensuring that our workplaces reflect our communities. The deadline for completing the survey is March 13. Make sure you’re counted!
Finally, as I see how long and hard you are all working to meet the intense demands of the 24-hour news cycles, I want to remind you — especially those working on all things election-related — to keep track of your hours. Whether you’re eligible for overtime, comp time, or both, you should claim it (and not just on primary nights!). You’ve earned it.
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