St. Louis Public Radio to form Missouri’s first public radio station union

St. Louis Public Radio Guild

ST. LOUIS — The on and off-air staff at St. Louis Public Radio are taking a historic step by becoming the first public radio station to form a union in the State of Missouri alongside the Communications Workers of America.

St. Louis Public Radio, an NPR member station with transmitters in St. Louis, Quincy, Ill., and Rolla, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 — a half-century’s worth of independent, in-depth and unbiased nonprofit news and community programming.

In a press release, Brian Munoz, St. Louis Public Radio photojournalist and multimedia reporter, said, “Our communities deserve a strong and stable non-profit news source that provides nuance, context and understanding to those who live here. Whether it’s triumph or tragedy, our journalists take you on the frontlines of the impactful and noteworthy.”

The work has been done amidst issues at the station that has eroded its strength as a non-profit news organization — a lack of transparency, few advancement opportunities, high turnover and continued cuts to benefits and compensation.

Creating the union is commitment to ensuring that St. Louis Public Radio continues to thrive.

“In my 15 years at the station, I have had the privilege of covering some of the most consequential stories in the history of our region, our state and our country,” said Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio local politics and criminal justice reporter. “The union will help ensure that those who are working with me today, and those who will follow in my footsteps, are guaranteed the same opportunities to do important work, and to be fully supported as they do their jobs.”

Staffers presented St. Louis Public Radio CEO Tina Pamintuan and the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a statement of interest signed by most of the bargaining unit. The statement invites Pamintuan to voluntarily recognize the St. Louis Public Radio Guild, with the CWA Union as the bargaining representative.

St. Louis Public Radio is a service of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is supported with financial gifts from the community. The National Public Radio affiliate has a 100,000-watt signal broadcasting from UMSL at Grand Center with transmitters in St. Louis (KWMU 90.7 FM), Rolla (KMST 88.5 FM), and Quincy, Ill., (WQUB 90.3 FM) with local and regional news online at stlpr.org.

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