Minnesota Public Radio newsroom votes to unionize

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Newsroom employees at Minnesota Public Radio voted Thursday to join the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, which represents more than 160,000 media professionals.

MPR staffers eligible to participate in the union voted 39-17 to join the union, with 18 challenges.

Full-time staff who create content for MPR News, American Radio Works and MPR’s newly established investigative unit will be represented by SAG-AFTRA.

“We are excited about embarking on this new partnership with MPR management,” said Marty Moylan, a reporter for MPR News, in a press release. “We look forward to having a seat at the table and to starting our negotiations.”

“As a result of the vote, we will now follow the process to begin good faith bargaining with SAG-AFTRA for an agreement,” Angie Andresen, a spokesperson for American Public Media, which owns MPR, told Current in an email. “All of us have the shared goal of providing the highest quality programming and delivering superior public service for our audiences. That is what we’re all focused on at this point and we look forward to working together to do just that.”

In-person voting took place as expected on May 17, but the vote wasn’t finalized until ballots cast by staff who work in remote areas arrived by mail.

With the vote to unionize, the MPR newsroom joins public media newsrooms that have SAG-AFTRA representation, including employees at NPR, KPCC in Pasadena, Calif. — which is also operated by American Public Media Group — WBEZ and WTTW in Chicago and KPBS in San Diego. Bargaining units at KQED in San Francisco and WNYC in New York which are also represented by SAG-AFTRA.

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