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MSNBC workers are unionizing, but the cable network's president wants workers to vote on the matter

"We are organizing because it’s the best way to ensure a fair, equitable, and safe workplace," the group said.

Updated: June 17, 2021 - 7:15pm

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Employees at MSNBC and The Choice are forming a union, with more than 200 people signing a petition to join the Writers Guild of America, East, but the cable network's president in a message to staff indicated that there should be a secret ballot vote regarding worker unionization.

"We are the editorial staff of MSNBC and The Choice. Over 200 of us have signed a union petition to join the @wgaeast. We are proud of our work and our network. We know our voices are key to making MSNBC the best place it can be for both its audience and its workers," the group said. "We want to support one another and make this an even better place to build a career. That's why we are organizing to be a part of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). We are organizing because it's the best way to ensure a fair, equitable, and safe workplace."

The Choice refers to digital news and commentary offered through NBC's Peacock streaming platform. 

Liberal MSNBC commentators Joy-Ann Reid and Chris Hayes both expressed their support.

"Extremely proud of my colleagues," Hayes tweeted, along with a fist emoji.

"All right then! Proud of my peeps," Reid tweeted, along with both a fist and and a thumbs up emoji.

According to Deadline, the network can voluntarily acknowledge the guild as the bargaining representative for newsroom staff and commence contract negotiations, but it can also demand an election to determine whether a majority of workers really desire to have the guild represent them. 

MSNBC president Rashida Jones indicated in a message to staff that there should be an employee vote.

"I respect our employees' right to decide whether they want to be represented by a union, and I believe our employees should be able to make such an important decision through a standard election process," Jones noted in a message to staff. "An election supervised by the government allows all affected employees the chance to express their view on unionizing through a secret ballot. It is important to give everyone who would be included the chance to understand what this would mean before making their choice.”