WFAE content staff announce intent to unionize

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A group of content staffers at WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., announced Tuesday that it plans to form a union with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

The group includes hosts, reporters and producers. It said in a petition sent to CEO Joe O’Connor Tuesday that it is seeking voluntary recognition of its union.

In the petition, the union organizing committee said the station has been going through “major growth” in the last three years with expansion of its content team. The station is also planning a community engagement center. 

“The station is going through an exciting transformation,” the committee said. “While we, the hosts, reporters, producers and other content creators, are optimistic about this, we also have concerns about staff turnover as well as poor communication and a lack of transparency from management.” 

“We deserve a seat at the table in making big decisions about WFAE’s future and in negotiating our wages, salaries and working conditions to ensure WFAE is a safe, nurturing place for all employees present and future,” the committee said in the petition. “We truly love WFAE and are proud to work here. We want to ensure its continued success.”

In a statement, O’Connor said, “WFAE’s remarkable content team has created one of the best local multi-platform non-profit newsrooms in the nation. Should these dedicated employees decide on union representation, I will be happy to work with SAG-AFTRA.” 

In a tweet, the group said more than 70% of the station’s content staffers have signed onto the petition. 

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that North Carolina is “one of the most challenging states in the nation for union organizing” and that receiving more than 70% of content staff to sign the petition “signals a sea change.”

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