Staffers at St. Louis Public Radio informed management Thursday of their intent to form a union with the Communications Workers of America.
The staff shared a statement of interest with STLPR CEO Tina Pamintuan and the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the station’s licensee. It was signed by more than 75% of the proposed bargaining unit, according to Brian Munoz, an STLPR photojournalist and multimedia reporter who is an organizer with the St. Louis Public Radio Guild. The proposed unit includes 42 people, he told Current in an email.
The proposed union would incorporate both on-air and off-air staff and include positions such as reporters, producers and hosts. It would also include support staff and employees in development, marketing and communications, Munoz said.
“Having a wide-reaching union was critical to ensure that our colleagues across departments are unified and all have an opportunity to have a seat at the bargaining table,” he said.
In a press release, the staff cited “issues at the station that, in aggregate, and over time, have eroded our strength as a non-profit news organization: a lack of transparency, few advancement opportunities, high turnover and continued cuts to our overall benefits and compensation.”
“We recognize the progress the station has made around diversity, equity and inclusion over the last couple of years,” staffers said in the release. “Our actions today affirm those gains and underscore the need for that good work and behavior to be codified as a means to continue pushing it forward.”
Munoz said the station met with Pamintuan Thursday afternoon to present the organizing documents. “The response from station leadership has been positive, but we have not received communication yet from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, where our station is housed,” he said.
Neither Pamintuan nor a university spokesperson have responded to Current’s request for comment.