Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Help MSNBC bring liberal values to the workplace

Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Al Sharpton are some of the biggest names in televised liberal commentary, but when it comes to supporting the rights of those who work under them at MSNBC, these big names have come up rather small.

According to the Writers Guild of America East, “Producers and associate producers at Peacock Productions, NBC’s nonfiction and reality unit at 30 Rockefeller Center, have been organizing and fighting against unionbusting at NBC for over a year now.” What they want are the benefits of being in a union, such as health insurance, better pay and less outrageous hours.

“These producers and APs [associate producers] have had enough of NBC’s attempts to stop their organizing drive,” says the guild. “They are asking MSNBC hosts to do one simple thing: sit down with them and hear their stories.”

So far, that has not happened. But it is not like MSNB’s on-air talent is unaware of what their producers do to make their shows happen.

“The staff of @allinwithchris works so so hard,” Chris Hayes tweeted yesterday. “It’s a marvel to watch every day.”

Hayes should do more than just tweet about how great his producers are: he should let some of them come on his show to explain the work they do – and why they need the benefits that come with being part of a union.

“The reality of freelance employment in nonfiction TV,” said Writers Guild of America Executive Director Lowell Peterson, “is that even creative professionals face grueling hours, no job security, no benefits, and no certainty about compensation.”

As a former non-fiction television producer who enjoyed neither job security nor benefits, join me and the guild in helping draw the attention of the following hosts at MSNBC to their producers’ organizing drive – and be sure to report what you hear back:

Rachel Maddow, “Rachel Maddow Show,” @maddow

Ed Schultz, “The Ed Show” @wegoted

Tamron Hall, “NewsNation” @tamronhall

Al Sharpton, “PoliticsNation” @thereval

Chris Hayes, “All In with Chris” @chrislhayes

Lawrence O’Donnell, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” @lawrence

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