NBC News Digital Employees Vote to Unionize

NBC News Studios at Rockefeller Plaza - Getty 2- H 2019
Getty Images

Nearly 70 percent of employees went for the effort, which drew a small amount of internal backlash and launched a "battle of the posters."

As expected, a majority of employees who work for nbcnews.com, today.com, StayTuned, Left Field, msnbc.com and the NBC News Now streaming service have formally voted to certify a union. The final vote was 90-40 in favor of joining the union.

NBC News digital employees voted Dec. 4 after NBC refused to voluntarily recognize the union effort and called for a National Labor Relations Board election. The results were tallied Friday.

“We couldn't be more proud of the work this union has done, the connections we've made, the victory we earned and the work we will do together,” said Andrew Stern, a video producer. “No matter how our colleagues voted, we stand in solidarity with each of them, ready to work tirelessly to build the newsroom we deserve.”

“We are proud to officially welcome the staff of NBC News Digital to our union,” said Susan DeCarava, president-elect of the NewsGuild of New York. “We have seen time and again that media workers win significant improvements to their working conditions when they come together and bargain collectively. We look forward to getting to the bargaining table with our members, and we expect NBC management to work with us in good faith to secure a strong contract for this talented newsroom.” 

When the union drive — with the NewsGuild of New York — was announced Oct. 30, "approximately 75 percent" of eligible employees had signed union authorization cards.

"No organization is perfect, and there are serious issues that keep the company from being as great as it can be," the NBC Newsguild said when announcing the effort. "A company with such incredible resources can and should do more to close gender and race wage gaps, address chronic understaffing, meaningfully prioritize diversity, promote transparency, and offer job protections."

But a small group of NBC News efforts opposed unionization and made their case via a much-derided Instagram account and colorful posters around the network's newsroom.

Now that the union has been formalized, a legally protected period called “status quo” begins, and discussions with NBC management get underway.

Chris Berend, executive vp of NBC News Digital, penned a memo to staff after the election result, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

"I have heard from many of you over the past several weeks about your love for NBC News, your excitement for all that we are building in Digital, and your commitment to making sure this continues to be a very special place to work," he wrote. "Our leadership team makes that same commitment back to you — that News Digital will continue to nurture a workplace that we can all be incredibly proud to be a part of. That is the highest of our priorities, and in that spirit we will make even more effort to connect our teams meaningfully and move forward together as one NBC News."