Press Release  ·  January 16, 2015

In These Times staff and management finalize first union contract

January 16, 2015


In These Times staff and management finalize first union contract

CHICAGO—In These Times magazine, a national independent nonprofit magazine based in Chicago, has finalized a union contract between management and staff represented by the Newspaper Guild of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

The contract, the first in the reader-supported magazine’s 39-year history, creates channels for staff participation in shaping organizational priorities and institutes strong job protections, including union input into grant applications and recall rights for employees laid off for economic reasons. The contract, covering the next three years, also guarantees 3 percent annual raises and codifies the magazine’s practice of providing four weeks vacation, employer-funded health, dental and disability insurance, and employer-matched Simple IRA for all full-time and part-time employees.

In These Times contributors have consistently given voice to the need for a labor movement with real teeth to defend working people. Consistent with arguments found on the magazine’s own pages, the contract enshrines the right to strike over grievances. Throughout U.S. history, strikes have played a pivotal role in securing basic labor rights and working conditions, but today, the right to strike is written out of most union contracts from the get-go, rendering an important tool of worker’s power impermissible in many contexts.

“As a magazine that champions worker rights, we’re very proud that our workplace is going to reflect the principles we value as an organization,” says Rebecca Burns, In These Times assistant editor and staff union unit chair. “By defending the rights of workers in media, unions have a crucial role to play in establishing a vibrant and independent press.”

Recognition of the staff union was granted voluntarily on February 24, 2014 through card check, a process for worker organizing that the magazine has long supported. In These Times staff and management hope that this first contract will help set the standard for labor conditions in an increasingly precarious industry that often forces journalists into freelance or part-time positions.

“We are proud that a nonprofit media organization is leading the way at a time when for-profit media corporations are increasingly slashing budgets, to the detriment of both workers and an informed public,” says In These Times Editor & Publisher Joel Bleifuss.

Please direct any press inquiries to In These Times Community Editor Miles Kampf-Lassin, who can be reached by email at or by phone at (773) 772-0100 x 224.