Wednesday, August 25, 2021

MSNBC Staffers Vote For Union

MSNBC employees voted to unionize in a government-supervised election, according to the Writers Guild of America, East, part of a labor-organizing push sweeping the media industry, reports Bloomberg. 

The mail-in ballot election, held by the National Labor Relations Board, covered around 300 staff, including writers, producers and fact-checkers, according to the union. 

The organizing campaign went public in June, saying a majority of workers had signed a letter requesting that MSNBC voluntarily recognize and negotiate with their union. The network’s president, Rashida Jones, declined that request, arguing in a memo reported by the New York Times that “our employees should be able to make such an important decision through a standard election process.”

The vote was 141-to-58, according to the union. MSNBC, part of Comcast Corp., and a labor board spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

If the government certifies that the union has won the election, MSNBC would be required to recognize and collectively bargain with the group. That would extend a wave of unionization victories in recent years in the media industry, including at NBC News’ digital division, where workers voted in 2019 to unionize with the NewsGuild of New York, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America.

The WGAE has swelled its ranks in recent years by successfully organizing digital journalists at HuffPost, Vox Media and Vice Media, but has recently been roiled by internal conflict over organizing priorities. The group recently announced a “pause” on trying to organize new digital media targets, and some leaders have voiced concern about digital media workers diverting the group’s budget and focus away from television and film struggles.

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