VTDigger Guild ratifies first contract

VTDigger Guild ratifies first contract

Members of the VTDigger Guild have unanimously ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with the Vermont Journalism Trust, which operates the nonprofit digital news site. VTDigger is the state’s largest newsroom.

The contract guarantees minimum salaries and overtime pay, establishes consistent standards, rewards longevity, and continues to solidify the organization’s commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It has been a long and at times difficult conversation, but we had it as equals, and the organization is much stronger for it,” said Lola Duffort, co-chair of the VTDigger Guild. “I am delighted we have arrived — unanimously — at such a robust agreement.”

Anne Galloway, executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust, said both the management and Guild bargaining teams brought empathy, flexibility and a diligent exploration of solutions to the process. “We believe the negotiations have resulted in mutual respect, better communication and excitement about the future,” Galloway said. “The resolution of the contract demonstrates the Guild’s commitment to the VTDigger mission, and management’s willingness to listen deeply and take action.”

The Vermont Journalism Trust and management voluntarily recognized the union in April of 2020, and the two parties have been negotiating a contract since August of that year.

Contract highlights include:

  • A salary floor of $40,000 for reporters and $50,000 for editors
  • Guaranteed annual 3% cost-of-living increases for those making less than $50,000 and 2% increases for those making more
  • 5 weeks of paid time off to be used for sickness or vacation
  • 8 weeks of nearly fully paid parental leave
  • Overtime pay for newsroom employees working more than 40 hours per week
  • One-time raises of 10% for those making $49,000 or more and 18% for those making less than $49,000 for employees who have been at the organization more than a year
  • Job security through just cause
  • Up to 3 months of severance pay in the event of layoffs
  • Standardized hiring practices that will proactively recruit journalists from underrepresented backgrounds
  • Public reporting on an annual basis about the organization’s demographic breakdown

Bargaining unit members include staff reporters, photographers and editors working in non-supervisory roles. Reporting fellows become members of the union after their first year at VTDigger. VTDigger Guild is a part of Providence Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA Local 31041.