StoryCorps workers win their union
StoryCorps workers, the newest members of Communications Workers Local 1180.

Employees at the non-profit StoryCorps have voted by an 83 percent margin to join the Communication Workers of America Local 1180. The vote marks the end of a long, and fiercely resisted, union drive that, according to Stephanie Russell-Kraft at The Nation, is a “perfect example of the labor problems mission-driven non-profits often have.”

StoryCorps’ mission, according to their website, “is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” To that end, the employees of StoryCorps help conduct interviews, do community outreach, produce stories, and work on the StoryCorps website.

The anti-union campaign included 1-on-1 meetings with employees and documents like the “FAQ” sent around in an email and later published by Splinter News. The document hits all the major employer talking points, such as “the union will cost you money” and “nothing is guaranteed!” Employees and supporters did not expect such a typical anti-union campaign from such a seemingly progressive company.

According to Russell-Kraft, the workers demanded clear hiring and firing protocols, performance evaluations, transparency, clear job descriptions, and professional development. All things that any employer that describes themselves as striving for a more “just and compassionate” world should be ashamed to not provide.

“In the past, we experienced sudden layoffs, worked for low wages, and weren’t able to negotiate over working conditions,” said production assistant Mia Warren, “My colleagues and I decided to come together and organize so we could have a seat at the table to discuss issues like healthcare benefits, severance packages, and greater transparency around pay. Now we’ll be able to have a say in making StoryCorps a better place to work.”

Roselyn Almonte, a national facilitator at StoryCorps said, “Even when facing an anti-union campaign by management, my co-workers and I stayed strong for months. Now that we’ve made our voices heard, we can’t wait to get to the bargaining table,” she said.

The 24-person bargaining unit covers employees in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. You can find more information about the StoryCorps workers’ union by following them on Twitter and Facebook.


Patrick J. Foote
Patrick J. Foote

Patrick Foote writes occasionally for People's World. At the University of Central Florida, he worked with the Student Labor Action Project organizing around the intersection of student and worker issues. He would go on to work in the labor movement in such organizations as Central Florida Jobs with Justice, AFSCME Council 79, and OUR Walmart.