Editorial Staff of NBC News Digital Unionizes with The NewsGuild of New York
For Immediate Release | October 30, 3019
Media Inquiries: Josh Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org | 484-269-0158
Editorial Staff of NBC News Digital Unionizes
with The NewsGuild of New York
An overwhelming majority of employees at the NBC digital division seek union representation
New York — Editorial employees of NBC News Digital announced today that an overwhelming majority of its staff have joined the NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003, the union that represents nearly 3,500 media professionals in the Greater New York City area. The NewsGuild of New York is part of the larger 24,000-member NewsGuild-CWA, which represents news professionals across the U.S. and Canada.
With approximately 75% of the workplace signed on to the effort, the editorial staff requested voluntary recognition of the NewsGuild of New York as their collective bargaining representative in a letter presented by a delegation of staffers Wednesday morning. The bargaining unit would include staffers from nbcnews.com, today.com, StayTuned, Left Field, msnbc.com, and NBC News Now.
NBC News has come under heightened scrutiny in recent weeks in the wake of accusations that executives have killed major stories and failed to respond properly to internal harassment allegations. The digital staff’s organizing campaign, which was originally sparked by similar accusations against the network in 2017, seeks to directly address issues like workplace safety and to secure a protected voice for journalists inside 30 Rock.
The news also follows an announcement by NBC News Digital management that around a dozen video journalists will lose their jobs with the elimination of the Left Field digital video team. The staff seeks to secure job security and a voice in the editorial direction of NBC News.
This latest announcement comes on the heels of dozens of successful organizing drives in newsrooms across the country, including The New Yorker, New York Magazine, BuzzFeed News, The New Republic, Mashable, PCMag, Pitchfork, Ars Technica, and Quartz, among others. Each of those publications were voluntarily recognized by editorial management. The NBC News Digital staff have requested the same from their employer.
“NBC News is a storied name in journalism and we all feel proud to be a part of it,” said Nigel Chiwaya, Data Journalist. “Forming the NBC News Guild is our way of protecting the legacy for everyone here now and for those who will come after us. We are organizing to make our newsroom stronger and safer for all.”
“NBC News is home to so many brilliant and talented journalists. We're excited to meet NBC News at the negotiating table to demand the fair and equitable workplace we deserve. The past year has seen a wave of union victories in newsrooms across the country, and we're excited to join them,” said Christine Nguyen, Video Producer.
“There is a voice that’s been missing from the conversation around NBC News lately, and it’s ours,” said Tate James, Video Editor. “We’re unionizing to protect each other and hold the powerful accountable, both in our workplace and out.”
“The employees of NBC News are standing up for their newsroom,” said Grant Glickson, President of The NewsGuild of New York. “Management has a lot to prove to its staff. We urge NBC to recognize the union in order to start building back the trust of the staff and fostering a productive and collaborative bargaining relationship.”
More information can be found at nbcnewsguild.com.
The full mission statement of the NBC Digital News Union is below:
For nearly a century, the National Broadcasting Company has played an important role in shaping the media landscape. NBC News has built a devoted television audience, and our digital newsroom has expanded that relationship with high-impact original reporting, exclusive stories, and groundbreaking video journalism.
At NBC, we’re told “the future of digital media is the future of media.” We—the reporters, editors, designers, video journalists, copy editors, animators, social media strategists, and editorial staff of NBC News Digital—couldn’t agree more. That is why we have decided to form a union with the NewsGuild of New York. Our mission is to uphold the legacy of NBC News while empowering and protecting those who will build its future.
We love working at NBC News Digital. But no organization is perfect, and there are serious issues that keep the company from being as great as it can be. A company with such incredible resources can and should do more to close gender and race wage gaps, address chronic understaffing, meaningfully prioritize diversity, promote transparency, and offer job protections. Management has indicated they are committed to addressing some of these issues—ending nine-hour working shifts, adjusting weekend staffing, increasing standard vacation time, and implementing select pay raises. While we strongly welcome any steps forward, we want to cement these positive benefits into an enforceable contract.
The company boasts of diversity in hiring, but falls short of the inclusive culture that retains and promotes a truly diverse newsroom. We have seen a steady exodus of women and people of color in recent years, which limits our perspective and lessens the quality of our journalism. Our teams are understaffed, with responsibilities added onto existing roles without commensurate pay increases. Staff members often feel the best way to grow in their careers is to leave the company.
NBC News has mishandled serious incidents of sexual misconduct and racism without the transparency and sensitivity such issues require. We have seen the company repeatedly invest in on-air talent and PR management, while mental health support, digital and physical security, and individual professional development remain underemphasized and underfunded.
Recent weeks have highlighted serious questions as to how NBC News has handled incidents of sexual misconduct in the workplace as well as the opaque processes and procedures for reporting on and exposing powerful predators. NBC News repeatedly refused calls for an independent review on both counts despite numerous such requests from staff. This lack of transparency and NBC News' troubling trend of passing on stories which investigate the powerful ultimately harm our credibility as journalists.
We can address these issues, but only if management works with us. We seek to build a more equitable workplace in order to enhance the quality and breadth of our journalism and continue to work in the newsroom that we love. Forming a union will afford us a collective voice in decisions that will benefit the entire company, providing much-needed transparency and ensuring a safer workplace.
We are excited to unionize with the NewsGuild, an organization that defends the rights of our peers in top-tier publications, digital-first companies, and local newsrooms alike. We’re inspired by journalists fighting to protect newsrooms around the country, and we encourage others who have not yet organized to join us.
About the NewsGuild of New York
The NewsGuild, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America is a labor union representing 3,500 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, BuzzFeed News, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic and The Daily Beast.
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