Staffers at Minnesota Public Radio have voted to join performers union SAG-AFTRA, with 39 voting yes and 17 voting no, along with 18 challenges.

The new bargaining unit will cover employees who create content for MPR News, American Radio Works, and the newly formed Investigative Unit. SAG-AFTRA said the election allows the employees to move forward to negotiate a first contract.

“We are excited about embarking on this new partnership with MPR management,” said Marty Moylan, reporter for MPR News. “We look forward to having a seat at the table and to starting our negotiations.”

Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board conducted the election. In-person voting occurred on May 17, but the count was not conducted until Thursday because several ballots from remote locations were cast by mail.

“I want to congratulate the working journalists and media professionals at Minnesota Public Radio on their decision to join SAG-AFTRA,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “As they continue to do their excellent work, they will now be able to negotiate with their employer the compensation terms and workplace protections shared by thousands of our news industry members across the country.”

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White said, “I’m thrilled with the outcome of today’s vote and welcome the staff of Minnesota Public Radio into the SAG-AFTRA family. MPR is one of the most important voices in public media and together we can ensure their essential work will enrich people’s lives for many years to come.”

MPR is the fourth public media organization to be unionized by SAG-AFTRA in recent years, following KPCC in Pasadena, KBPS in San Diego and WBEZ in Chicago. SAG-AFTRA also represents public media professionals at National Public Radio, KQED in San Francisco and WNYC in New York.

SAG-AFTRA has about 165,000 members.