MSNBC and the WGA East have reached an agreement to hold an election to determine whether the writers and producers on all of the network’s shows want to be represented by the guild. The election, which will be supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, involves 315 writers, producers, booking producers, fact checkers and planners at every program airing on MSNBC and on Peacock’s The Choice.
Ballots will be go out on July 20, and must be returned by August 17.
The network’s writers, producers and support staff unionized with the guild last month, when more than 200 members of the bargaining unit signed a petition to recognize the guild as their bargaining representative – which is more than the majority needed to give the guild the right to begin negotiations for a first-time contract.
“Our election is set!” tweeted the newly formed MSNBC union. “We’ll receive our ballots next week so we can vote to win formal recognition of our union with @wgaeast. We’re so proud of what we’ve all built together and grateful for the solidarity and support from across the industry and the labor movement.”
Our election is set! We’ll receive our ballots next week so we can vote to win formal recognition of our union with @wgaeast. We’re so proud of what we’ve all built together and grateful for the solidarity and support from across the industry and the labor movement. #1u
— MSNBC Union (@MSNBCunion) July 13, 2021
The newsroom staffs of every MSNBC program airing on the cable news outlet will be taking part in the vote, including The Rachel Maddow Show, Deadline Whitehouse, All In with Chris Hayes, The ReidOut, Morning Joe, Politics Nation, The Beat with Ari Melber, MSNBC Reports, MTP Daily, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and Way Too Early with Kasie Hunt. Two other shows – Zerlina, hosted by Zerlina Maxwell, and The Mehdi Hasan Show – which air on The Choice, an MSNBC-produced news channel on Peacock’s streaming service, also are included in the organizing drive.
The WGA East had called on MSNBC to voluntarily recognize the union as the bargaining representative of the newsroom staff, but MSNBC preferred to put the matter to an NLRB-supervised vote. “I respect our employees’ right to decide whether they want to be represented by a union,” MSNBC president Rashida Jones said last month in a message to her staff, “and I believe our employees should be able to make such an important decision through a standard election process. An election supervised by the government allows all affected employees the chance to express their view on unionizing through a secret ballot. It is important to give everyone who would be included the chance to understand what this would mean before making their choice.”
Many of MSNBC’s hosts have lauded the unionization drive. “This is happening!” wrote Rachel Maddow in a tweet accompanied an emoji of hands clapping. “A very large number of newsroom staff who’d be part of the union have already pledged support – but this will be the binding vote.”
“So impressed and proud,” Chris Hayes wrote in a tweet accompanied by an emoji of a muscled arm flexing.
“Proud of my @msnbc fam who are turning organizing into action,” The ReidOut host Joy Reid tweeted. “Now everyone do your part and vote!”
“Congratulations to my colleagues who are following a noble and exciting tradition of a vote that will give voice to workers’ needs and aspirations,” tweeted Ali Velshi. “We at MSNBC will all be better and stronger for this effort.”
“Proud of my MSNBC colleagues undertaking this effort,” tweeted Jonathan Capehart, host of The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart. “Now, make sure your voice is heard. Vote!”
Julián Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development who earlier this week joined NBC News and MSNBC as a political analyst, tweeted: “Exciting news for the newsroom, the media industry, and the labor movement.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, weighed in as well, tweeting: “I urge the @MSNBCunion to vote yes in their election to join the @WGAEast.”