NBC, MSNBC union plans walkout

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A large group of unionized NBC News and MSNBC digital employees are planning a walkout Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, to protest the layoff of seven former co-workers, reports The Washington Post.

NewsGuild of New York, which represents employees working on the digital side of NBC News, called the layoffs abrupt and illegal, though NBC denies that categorization.

“We are disappointed by the NewsGuild’s continued attempts to misrepresent the facts while we work in good faith with them to reach an agreement,” an NBC News spokesperson told The Post.

The seven jobs lost were part of a January 2023 cut that also affected 30 MSNBC staffers who are part of a separate union.

The NBC News Guild has filed six complaints of unfair labor practices with the NLRB, though any resolution could take years.

The planned walkout was announced internally Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, and participating staffers plan to protest in front of the network’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York.

NBC, like many other media companies, is facing pressures to cost costs and payroll in light of a tight economy.

NBC’s digital NewsGuild union has been working without a contract since its founding in 2019, with both sides pointing fingers at the other.

The Guild argues that the law says “employers cannot conduct layoffs without bargaining with the union during negotiations for a first contract,” while NBC says its layoffs were conducted according to the law.

Union reps acknowledge that most users of the network’s digital offerings aren’t likely to notice much of a change during the walkout but hope it will send a message to the network about its workers’ contributions.

NBC and MSNBC’s NewsGuild units represent digital reporters, editors, designers, animators, video journalists and social media professionals but does not cover workers primarily assigned to broadcast operations.