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NBC News digital employees vote to form union

Posted December 13, 2019 3:12 p.m. EST

— The digital news employees at NBC News voted to form a union on Friday.

Ballots from a vote conducted earlier this month were tallied and the result was revealed at the National Labor Relations Board's office in New York City. The union told CNN Business the final vote count was 90-40.

The union covers about 150 editorial employees across NBC News's digital operations, including NBCNews.com, Today.com, Stay Tuned, MSNBC.com and online streaming network NBC News Now.

NBC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the vote.

Employees announced their intention to unionize in October, advocating for fair wages, newsroom diversity and job protections. The announcement came amid turmoil within NBC News sparked by Ronan Farrow's book "Catch and Kill," which alleged powerful employees were protected despite accusations of sexual harassment and other wrongdoings. Farrow also alleged NBC's leadership inappropriately quashed his reporting on Harvey Weinstein.

The campaign to unionize was already well underway prior to the book's publication, but these allegations gave staffers more reason to organize. The union said in October that about 75% of eligible employees had signed on as they asked for voluntary recognition from management.

Ahead of the vote, some NBC News employees organized an anti-union effort that included an Instagram account and a website. The Instagram account, called No NBC News Guild, shared cutesy illustrations about some concerns, such as the union's effect on pet insurance. An NBC News spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that company management was not involved in those anti-union efforts.

Unions have spread across digital newsrooms in recent years as employees seek to improve workplace conditions. NBC News employees unionized through the News Guild, which represents employees at BuzzFeed News, The Daily Beast and The New York Times, among other publications. Employees at Hearst Magazines announced their intention to unionize in November through the Writers Guild of America, East.

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