POLITICS

Media Matters Employees To Vote On Union, Management To Stand Neutral

06/17/2014 06:04 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Employees at the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America will soon vote on whether or not to join a union.

Last week the Service Employees International Union Local 500 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board requesting a union election that would cover 51 Media Matters employees. Although an agency spokesman says the vote has yet to be scheduled, it could happen as early as next week.

Media Matters management has agreed to remain neutral on the unionization effort, according to Angelo Carusone, Media Matters' executive vice president.

"We are absolutely going to remain neutral throughout the process," Carusone said. "We firmly support the rights of our staff to collectively bargain."

Pro-union employees applauded management's neutral stance, declaring it consistent with the group's progressive ethos.

"Management at Media Matters have promised to abide by their pro-union principles and have indicated they will be taking a position of absolute neutrality with respect to our decision to hold a union election," read a statement attributed to the Media Matters Organizing Committee and posted by SEIU. "By committing to neutrality, management has strengthened the work of this organization."

Back in April, members of the organizing committee accused Media Matters management of standing in the way of their unionization effort, a charge that Media Matters denied.

Opposition to a unionization effort would violate a basic tenet of progressivism, and Media Matters' frequent targets on the right relished the opportunity to accuse the group of hypocrisy.

SEIU launched a petition on MoveOn.org to urge Media Matters to "walk the walk."

A declaration of neutrality by Media Matters management would likely pave the way for unionization, should a majority of employees cast votes in favor. A union needs signatures from only 30 percent of the bargaining unit in order to request an election, though it's unlikely SEIU would have submitted a petition without the support of a clear majority of workers.

A union spokesman declined to comment beyond the statement issued by the committee.

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