Today, staff at KUOW-FM 94.9, a National Public Radio member station in Seattle, Washington, overwhelmingly elected to join SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 members including radio and TV broadcasters and journalists across the country. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for the station, which is affiliated with the University of Washington. The unit includes the station's announcers, hosts, producers and reporters, as well as digital and community engagement staff. This victory allows them to move forward to negotiate a first contract.
"We are excited about embarking on a new era in the history of KUOW,” said reporter Ann Dornfeld. “For the first time in 65 years, the people who produce and present the stories that our community relies on will have a say in their own working conditions."
“To keep serving our listeners well, we need to be able to afford to live in the communities we serve,” said producer Amina Al-Sadi.
“We’re approaching this in a spirit of professionalism and collaboration with management,” said online editor Isolde Raftery. “We look forward to having a seat at the table to negotiate our first contract."
The Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission certified the union through a “card check” process. More than 70 percent of the proposed unit of KUOW programming staff signed cards in favor of union representation.
“I want to congratulate and welcome the working journalists and media professionals at KUOW on their decision to join SAG-AFTRA,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Our members across the country are standing with you in your quest for fair working conditions and a meaningful voice in shaping the future of your station.”
KUOW is the latest public media organization whose employees have voted to join SAG-AFTRA. In recent years, employees at MPR in St Paul, KPCC in Pasadena, KPBS in San Diego, and WBEZ in Chicago have voted to join the union. SAG-AFTRA also represents public media professionals at National Public Radio (NPR), KQED in San Francisco, WNYC in New York, and other stations. In Seattle, SAG-AFTRA also represents radio broadcasters at KNKX, TTWN, Forks Broadcast, Classical King FM and television broadcasters at KING 5, KOMO News 4, and KIRO 7.