NPR Union Members Ask SAG-AFTRA for Strike Authorization Vote

Existing contract set to expire Saturday after multiple extensions

Stephen Voss/NPR

NPR employees covered by SAG-AFTRA have asked the union’s national board of directors to approve a strike authorization vote, TheWrap has learned.

The board is set to meet Saturday and will consider the request. Should the board approve, a strike authorization vote could happen Monday. More than 400 NPR on-air journalists and producers are covered by SAG-AFTRA.

The existing contract between SAG-AFTRA employees and NPR expired on June 30 and was extended by two weeks. On Friday, it was further extended 24 hours. Negotiations are still ongoing, and SAG-AFTRA declined TheWrap’s request for comment.

On Thursday, SAG-AFTRA posted a statement about the state of negotiations on a new website with the title, “The future of NPR is at stake.” In the statement, the union wrote, “the management of NPR and their latest contract proposal seeks to tear apart fundamental workplace rights and benefits SAG-AFTRA members fought hard to establish. It threatens the core of NPR’s mission by devaluing the work of the people who have helped bring record audiences across NPR’s platforms, as is frequently touted by the same executives.”

Becky Sullivan, a member of the bargaining team and producer on “All Things Considered,” told Poynter that there are two issues at the heart of the negotiations: “They are trying to lower salary minimums, and they are really trying to weaken the power of the union,” she said. “They want to write in more flexibility for outside people to do union work and take away the union’s ability to file a grievance.”