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Media Matters Staff Votes To Join Union

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WASHINGTON -- The staff of the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Service Employees International Union on Monday, a union spokesman confirmed.

SEIU Local 500 spokesman Christopher Honey said he could not provide an exact ballot count but said the union had won a clear majority during the Monday election. The results would not yet have been ratified by the federal labor board.

"We have always respected the rights of Media Matters employees to organize and collectively bargain," Bradley Beychok, president of Media Matters, said in a statement. "We look forward to the next steps in this process and thank our staff and allies in the progressive community for their support."

Media Matters employees have been quiet throughout the unionization process. It isn't clear what kind of grievances workers may have had with management, or whether they simply wanted to formalize their support of collective bargaining as a progressive outlet.

The Media Matters union campaign wasn't without some awkwardness. As The Huffington Post reported in April, workers identifying themselves as the Media Matters Organizing Committee issued a statement through SEIU accusing management of denying them "card check" and trying to block their efforts to unionize. Card check is a process whereby management voluntarily recognizes the union, rather than opting for a full-blown election overseen by the labor board.

Media Matters denied the charge, saying it only wanted to make sure management followed the letter of the law during the unionization process. The group's frequent targets on the right nonetheless reveled in the accusation that a progressive outlet was opposed to its own workers joining a union.

In the run-up to the election, Media Matters management pledged neutrality and said it would honor the desires of the majority, a move that was applauded by pro-union workers.

"We firmly support the rights of our staff to collectively bargain," Angelo Carusone, Media Matters executive vice president, previously told HuffPost.

According to Honey, the union local represents workers from other organizations in the D.C. nonprofit world, including Public Citizen, Oxfam America and the United States Student Association.

In a statement issued through SEIU Wednesday, the organizing committee said it was looking forward to inking its first contract.

"The Organizing Committee and our supporters are deeply committed to the mission of Media Matters, and we know that having a union will make our organization stronger," the statement said.

This story has been updated with statements from Media Matters and the union.

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