Staff at Minnesota Public Radio, The Current officially vote to unionize

The new union will incorporate creative staff at The Current and Classical MPR.
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After announcing their intention to unionize in September, staff at Minnesota Public Radio and 89.3 The Current voted to make it official on Tuesday.

Staff announced that they have voted to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union, following a vote conducted by mail ballot that was counted by the National Labor Relations Board.

As a result, two new bargaining units have been created that will "will include the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the stations, including on-air hosts, producers, and all the people that make content for The Current and Classical MPR, including Classical 24 and Performance Today."

Per the union, these units will now be charged with negotiating contracts.

“This is an amazing day for those of us who work at Classical MPR,” said Classical host Steve Staruch in a statement from the union.

"We have been heard, and with SAG-AFTRA's representation, we now have a seat at the table when decisions are made about our careers and our families. With our colleagues at The Current, we look forward to negotiating contracts that acknowledge and reward our work, our dedication, and our passion for serving our listeners.”

The Current host Andrea Swensson added: "This is a historic moment for The Curren. For the first time in our station's history, employees have won the legal right to collectively bargain for ourselves in the workplace. Standing arm and arm in solidarity, we are eager to advance our shared goals of transparency, fairness, integrity, and inclusivity."

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When announcing their intention to organize in September, the employees said they had their own reasons for organizing, but are "united in seeking fair and equitable compensation; an actionable and measurable plan to diversify the staff of both of our stations; and consistency and transparency in employee discipline and termination."

Employees at MPR News were already unionized, and recently launched a campaign to transform MPR to make it more equitable and inclusive for people of color and women.

It came after a tumultuous few months for MPR and parent company American Public Media that saw the high-profile departures of three employees.

Garrett McQueen, the only Black classical host on MPR, said he was fired after not following programming guidelines. Then, longtime reporter Marianne Combs resigned her position, accusing MPR News of sitting on a story alleging misconduct by a radio DJ on The Current, which is run by MPR/APM. Fewer than 24 hours after MPR said it was "blindsided" by Combs' departure, it announced The Current's Eric Malmberg would not be back on MPR's airwaves.

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