CHICAGO (Sept. 1, 2016) — The employees at the Better Government Association in Chicago today voted unanimously to join SAG-AFTRA. 

The successful vote means the staff will join more than 160,000 media professionals in the union, paving the way for BGA employees to negotiate a first contract.

“We’re glad to join the SAG-AFTRA family, especially going into the Labor Day holiday,” BGA staff said in a statement. “With this move we see a bright future for the BGA rooted in independent and responsible journalism and policy work. We look forward to beginning good-faith negotiations at the earliest appropriate time — we hope management feels the same.”

The election was conducted by Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board at the BGA office. 

“BGA employees deserve a say in their wages and working conditions, and by joining SAG-AFTRA, they have empowered themselves to have their voices heard,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “On behalf of all our members, welcome to the union.”

“As an organization with a long history of holding government accountable to the people it serves, the BGA is a well-respected media organization that provides a critical service to the community,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “Joining SAG-AFTRA puts these employees in a position to negotiate a fair contract so they can continue to focus on what they do best: award-winning investigative journalism.”

The BGA is an independent organization focusing on government transparency and accountability. It produces digital content that is a mix of print, video and audio. It regularly partners with SAG-AFTRA radio and television stations to produce content collaboratively.

The BGA is the latest Chicago media organization to form a union with SAG-AFTRA. It joins the ranks of WBEZ, Vocalo and Chicago Tonight producers at WTTW who have all voted to organize with SAG-AFTRA in the past two years. SAG-AFTRA also represents journalists at 22 Chicago television and radio stations, including WGN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Telemundo and Fox.

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