KCRW union reaches tentative contract agreement

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After about a year of bargaining, KCRW’s Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union has reached a tentative agreement with station management, the parties said Thursday.

The contract would be the union’s first if members ratify it in a vote next week, Jennifer Wolfe, a Berlin staffer who was on the organizing and bargaining committees, told Current in an email. Wolfe declined to share specifics of the tentative agreement because it has not been ratified.

The bargaining process was “made much harder by the pandemic,” Wolfe said. “It’s one thing to sit across the table from each other during negotiations. It’s another thing entirely when you’re trying to bargain via a screen.”

“KCRW is proud to have its first contract with SAG-AFTRA representing our content-making employees,” Jennifer Ferro told Current in an email.

“We are happy to have worked together in order to benefit the organization for years to come,” Ferro said. “As we’ve said from the beginning, we believe in our staff and look forward to tackling the future together as one strong organization.”

A group of more than 90 staffers voted to join the union in June 2019. The bargaining unit includes DJs, hosts, producers, engineers and other staffers related to content production.

“The station is going through an exciting transformation, and we want to take an active part in it,” the group said on Twitter when it announced plans to unionize. “We want a seat at the table to make the decisions that shape our lives. We want KCRW to attract and retain a strong, diverse workforce in an increasingly competitive industry.”

If approved, the contract would be the second in public radio to pass during the pandemic. Unionized employees at Boston’s WBUR ratified their first contract last month.

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