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Officials ‘Disappointed’ With Al Jazeera’s Anti-Union Stance

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Union officials expressed disappointment Tuesday with Al Jazeera America over the publication’s refusal to voluntarily recognize The NewsGuild of New York.

“We are disappointed that Al Jazeera America management did not voluntarily recognize its digital employees’ decision to join a union,” Guild President Peter Szekely said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are confident that the will of the newsroom will be reflected in the [National Labor Relations Board] NLRB election that begins today.”

The union says digital reporters have already requested management voluntarily recognize their right to organize. Despite not hearing directly from management, reports have indicated to the union that Al Jazeera will refuse to do so. As a result, the union has been authorized by federal labor officials to conduct in-person voting throughout Tuesday and mail-in ballots until Oct. 5.

“We look forward to counting the votes next Tuesday,” Szekely added. “And to negotiating a contract that will help make Al Jazeera America the best news organization it can be.”

The votes will be counted Oct. 6 and the results announced shortly after. The push to unionize digital reporters at Al Jazeera follows a growing trend in news media. In the past year, The NewsGuild of New York as well other unions like the Writers Guild of America, East have been able to unionize several large media outlets. The field of unionized publications includes ThinkProgress, Vice Media, Salon Media Group and Gawker Media, among others.

Al Jazeera is not alone in its reported hesitance towards unionization. When Salon employees voted, it took management several weeks amid significant media pressure to recognize the voteThis despite Salon’s consistent praise of the right to organize. Other outlets like ThinkProgress immediately made efforts to welcome in unionization.

The growing trend of media outlets unionizing is a big shift for the industry. In the past, employees at media companies rarely joined unions.

Al Jazeera did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF.

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