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NPR Reaches 11th Hour Agreement With Union

National Public Radio (NPR) will remain on the air after workers came to a tentative agreement with management on a new contract early Sunday morning.

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Ratio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which represents 433 of NPR’s 800 employees, held marathon talks with management over the weekend. The last contract with SAG-AFTRA expired June 30, and after multiple extensions and a threatened walkout, the two sides came to an agreement shortly after midnight Saturday.

The agreement, while still tentative, must be approved by the union members. The three year deal would provide for salary increases and “effectively repelled” a proposed two-tier salary system that would have paid new hires less than veteran staffers, according to the union.

NPR’s management wanted the right to pay lower wages to new hires, but the union pushed back, arguing that such an arrangement could hinder the hiring of women and minorities, according to Deadline.com.

“Management’s attempt to create a second-class of minimums for new employees may discourage diverse candidates from entering the NPR workforce,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris told Deadline.

The tentative arrangement likely ends talks of a potential strike at the nation’s public radio syndicate. The members discussed the possibility of a strike after the two sides failed to reach a new agreement, even after a two week extension on talks.

Listeners will be able to tune in to NPR staples like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” as scheduled for the foreseeable future, on one of the network’s more than 900 radio stations.

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