Another group of St. Louis Public Radio employees file to organize despite U of M resistance

St. Louis – Another group of St. Louis Public Radio employees has filed to organize, following the newsroom’s historic unionization last year.

The St. Louis Public Radio Guild announced it has filed for a second election to add the radio station’s non-supervisory fundraising, events and support staff to its ranks.

The St. Louis Public Radio Guild organized the 37 newsroom workers who bring local, national and international news and programs to the airwaves and online, including journalists, producers, on-air talent and marketing professionals. Last year, they made history by becoming the first public media union to file for and win union recognition in the state of Missouri.

Like most public radio stations, St. Louis Public Radio falls under the umbrella of a university: in their case, the University of Missouri system. The university has been resistant so far, according to Guild leaders: when they originally filed with 75 percent signing the statement of interest, the university nevertheless declined to recognize them and forced the Guild to go through the full election process.

Now that resistance continues, according to the Guild.

“Despite the best efforts of the Guild’s bargaining team, the University of Missouri system remained steadfast in its opposition to including in the contract the people who run our events, support our day-to-day operations, and help fundraise critical dollars that keep us on air, online and in the community,” the statement read. “The STLPR Guild strongly believes every worker, no matter the role they play, deserves a seat at the table where equitable and sustainable support is prioritized.”

This move follows the announcement earlier last week that Kansas City Public Radio employees are following in St. Louis’ footsteps in taking their first steps toward unionization. A self-described “overwhelming majority” have signed their intent to unionize through the Communication Workers of America, and their group would include employees of Classical KC, Kansas News Service and Harvest Public Media, along with some members of the Midwest Newsroom.

St. Louis Public Radio Guild has declared its support of KCUR’s move as it works to expand among its own employees.

“The work that our support staff does to help the mission of creating a more informed, engaged and inspired public is critical to our organization’s mission,” said Sophie Broz, special events coordinator at STLPR. “Whether you are on the air or behind the scenes, it takes everyone working together to create an equitable and just workplace.”

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