SAG-AFTRA announced today that the bargaining unit at the University of Washington’s KUOW 94.9, Puget Sound Public Radio, has ratified its first-ever union contract, cementing fair minimum salaries and working conditions for public radio professionals. SAG-AFTRA’s Executive Committee and the Seattle Local Board also ratified the contract. The unit, which is composed of 43 reporters, producers, announcers, hosts, web editors, production engineers, community engagement employees and board operators, overwhelmingly approved the agreement on Friday, with 94% voting in favor. Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the University of Washington commenced a year ago.
“We congratulate and welcome the KUOW employees, who have not only improved standards and achieved a voice at work for themselves, but set an example for their colleagues working in public media across the country,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
“Our contract is an incredible foundation for the future of our newsroom. For a first contract, this is outstanding and will give many of our lowest-paid colleagues an immediate boost in salary along with guaranteed yearly increases,” said Ann Dornfeld, senior reporter and bargaining committee member.
“We wanted more transparency and a voice into how our newsroom was run. We achieved that goal,” Dornfeld said. “It already feels like we have more of a say in the decision-making process.”
Other highlights of the contract include on-call pay, free public transportation for all union members, time-and-a-half for holidays worked plus an extra holiday credit, guaranteed breaks between shifts, security in the field, and the formation of a Labor/Management Committee to work through issues between bargaining years.
In addition to KUOW, SAG-AFTRA represents public media professionals at NPR, KNKX, KPCC, KPBS, KQED, Minnesota Public Radio, WBEZ, WBUR, WNYC and other stations.