WBEZ ratifies first union contract

Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media

Employees of WBEZ FM 91.5 ratified their first union contract Tuesday with management of the Chicago Public Media station.

Terms of the comprehensive, two-year agreement negotiated with the local unit of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists go into effect immediately, according to Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media.

Goli Sheikholeslami

Goli Sheikholeslami

“We at Chicago Public Media are pleased that employees ratified our first collective bargaining agreement with SAG-AFTRA,” Sheikholeslami said in a statement. “After more than a year of negotiations, CPM and the Union were able to agree on a modern labor contract that will enable the station to innovate and operate nimbly into the future, while providing employees with good wages and benefits.”

Eric Chaudron, executive director of Chicago SAG-AFTRA, said it was “an outstanding effort by the unit to hold together through the challenges of a first contract,” adding: “We are extremely pleased with our negotiation team, led by broadcast director Paula Weinbaum. They put in countless hours coordinating with the bargaining team and at the negotiation table. It was a great team effort that produced a solid first contract, and it gave CPM content creators a strong voice in the workplace.”

In December 2013 employees of the public radio station voted to authorize SAG-AFTRA as their collective bargaining agent. The bargaining unit covers more than 40 staffers who work in content and technical areas of WBEZ, Vocalo, “Sound Opinions” and digital services. Chicago Public Media has about 120 full-time employees.