NBC digital news division employees move to unionize

NBC digital news division employees move to unionize
© Getty Images

NBC digital news division employees are planning to unionize, citing concerns about how NBC News has handled issues of sexual misconduct and diversity. 

The union announced its formation through the NewsGuild of New York with a statement Wednesday, requesting NBC News management to work with them to address issues of sexual misconduct and diversity.

“Recent weeks have highlighted serious questions as to how NBC News has handled incidents of sexual misconduct in the workplace as well as the opaque processes and procedures for reporting on and exposing powerful predators,” the statement reads. 

“This lack of transparency and NBC News' troubling trend of passing on stories which investigate the powerful ultimately harm our credibility as journalists,” the statement continues. 

NBC recently came under scrutiny when Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Ronan Farrow pointed out in his book that at least seven women, who alleged sexual harassment or discrimination at work, had signed nondisclosure agreements with the company. This prevented them from speaking about their claims. The company announced Monday all former NBC News employees would be released from that agreement.

The NBC Digital News union argued the company fails to promote a culture that allows a diverse newsroom to be sustainable. Their statement says the company has “seen a steady exodus of women and people of color in recent years.”

The new union will also encourage the company to “close gender and race wage gaps,” in addition to call attention to understaffing, transparency and other job protections. The statement said management seemed open to ending nine-hour work shifts, fixing weekend staffing, boosting vacation time and adding select pay raises.

“Through the #NBCGuild, we now have a seat at the table and a protected voice," the union tweeted.

Chris Berend, the executive vice president of digital at the network’s news division, said in a memo to NBC staff members obtained by The New York Times that the company is “committed to a fair and healthy workplace for all our employees.”

“We welcome this dialogue from within our digital organization, and any constructive conversation aimed at building the future of NBC News Digital and ensuring that we’re the best we can be,” the memo reads.