ST. LOUIS — Workers at St. Louis Public Radio, the local National Public Radio affiliate, have moved to unionize.
Staff members on Thursday presented a "statement of interest" in joining what would be a local bargaining unit of the Communication Workers of America, signed by "an overwhelming majority" of the nonprofit media organization's staff, to St. Louis Public Radio CEO Tina Pamintuan and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The move was announced Thursday in a press release from the St. Louis Public Radio Guild.
St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR) is licensed to the University of Missouri System and operated by UMSL. STLPR broadcasts as NPR affiliate KWMU 90.7 FM, as well as KMST 88.5 FM in Rolla and WQUB 90.3 FM in Quincy, Illinois, and streaming channels KWMU-2 jazz and KWMU-3 classical, as well as producing web and podcast content.
STLPR has 60 full- and part-time employees, according to an UMSL spokesman.
The STLPR Guild intends to represent nonsupervisory employees among the station's newsroom, events, marketing, development and support staff, totaling about 42 people, according to Rachel Lippmann, a guild organizer and the station's justice correspondent. "We expect the exact shape of the unit to be a topic of conversation and discussion," she told the Business Journal in an email. More than 75% of the proposed bargaining unit signed the statement of interest, Lippmann said.
She said it's the guild's understanding that the decision to recognize the bargaining unit would come from either the University of Missouri-St. Louis or the University of Missouri System. "We are seeking clarity on that question," she wrote.
"Our communities deserve a strong and stable non-profit news source that provides nuance, context and understanding to those who live here,” Brian Munoz, photojournalist and multimedia reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and guild organizing member, said in the release.
The radio station's work "has been done amidst issues at the station that, in aggregate, and over time, have eroded our strength as a non-profit news organization: a lack of transparency, few advancement opportunities, high turnover and continued cuts to our overall benefits and compensation," guild officials said in the release.
Read more of the story on the St. Louis Business Journal's website.