SAG-AFTRA has unionized employees at the watchdog Better Government Association in Chicago with the employees voting unanimously to join the performer’s union.
It’s a move that expands SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction beyond the traditional performer categories. SAG-AFTRA, which has about 160,000 members, said the successful vote paves the way for BGA employees to negotiate a first contract.
“We’re glad to join the SAG-AFTRA family, especially going into the Labor Day holiday,” BGA staff said in a statement. “With this move we see a bright future for the BGA rooted in independent and responsible journalism and policy work. We look forward to beginning good-faith negotiations at the earliest appropriate time — we hope management feels the same.”
The election was conducted by Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board at the BGA office.
“BGA employees deserve a say in their wages and working conditions, and by joining SAG-AFTRA, they have empowered themselves to have their voices heard,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “On behalf of all our members, welcome to the union.”
SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White said in a statement: “As an organization with a long history of holding government accountable to the people it serves, the BGA is a well-respected media organization that provides a critical service to the community. Joining SAG-AFTRA puts these employees in a position to negotiate a fair contract so they can continue to focus on what they do best: award-winning investigative journalism.”
The BGA produces digital content that is a mix of print, video and audio. It regularly partners with SAG-AFTRA radio and television stations to produce content collaboratively.
SAG-AFTRA has expanded in Chicago in the past two years by unionizing WBEZ, Vocalo and Chicago Tonight producers at WTTW. SAG-AFTRA also represents journalists at 22 Chicago TV and radio stations, including WGN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Telemundo and Fox.