The Twin Cities' two musical public radio frequencies — 89.3 the Current and MPR Classical — could soon become union shops.
Hosts, producers, and digital producers at the Current and MPR Classical notified management Thursday of their intent to create two unions within SAG-AFTRA, the New York City-headquartered union that represents over 100,000 actors, DJs, journalists, and other media pros. More than 80 percent of the roughly 20 workers at each station signed the union recognition petitions.
"The Current's staff has been a tight-knit, connected group, and many of us have felt that we haven’t had enough of a voice in the future of the station and the futures of our own careers," says Current host Jade Tittle. "Unionizing will strengthen our voices and help us create a radio station that values its employees and reflects our community."
Among the goals of the prospective Current and MPR Classical unions, per their joint Twitter account:
"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."
Will bosses at St. Paul-based parent company American Public Media voluntarily recognize its workers' new unions? We asked, and received the following statement:
"Management at Classical MPR and The Current received letters today from some employees in these departments expressing their intention to unionize under SAG-AFTRA. We're currently reviewing the details of these letters and are considering the requests included."
Another APM property, MPR News, unionized its newsroom back in 2016.
Facing mounting pressure, APM CEO Jon McTaggart announced Tuesday that he'd step down as soon as his replacement is identified. That news came after the controversial firing of Black MPR Classical DJ Garrett McQueen, the protest resignation of MPR News reporter Marianne Combs, and the firing of allegedly abusive Current DJ Eric Malmberg.