In Landslide, Al Jazeera America Employees Vote to Unionize

FTVLive told you that some employees at Al Jazeera America were going to vote whether or not to unionize.

The vote passed and it wasn't even close.

Digital employees at AJAM voted 32-5 in favor to unionize with the NewsGuild on Tuesday in a secret ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We won,” said Gregg Levine, national editor. Tammy Kim, features staff writer, and Ned Resnikoff, a digital news producer, confirmed the result.

 The staff had filed with the NLRB on Sept. 3, the same day they asked management to voluntarily recognize a union. After AJAM's management refused, the staff held an election certified by the NLRB.

“Every employee in the office I work in put a ballot in,” Levine said. He had been confident that Tuesday would be an overwhelming victory for the union side.

“Over the month, since we declared to the day we voted, it was a little surprising given the trend in the industry of digital newsrooms being recognized,” he said. “You’d think that Al Jazeera America management would understand where the 21st century is going. But instead they chose to behave in the way they have behaved in general, which was what made it really easy to organize in the first place.”

“They don’t give you a straight answer, they delay and defer, pretend it’s somebody else’s decision,” he added.

A spokesperson for Al Jazeera America supplied a statement on the vote: "Our priority was to ensure that every employee of Al Jazeera America’s Digital Department could have a say about union representation and we respect the decision they have reached through this democratic vote. We look forward to concluding a collective bargaining agreement and will continue to work closely with all of our staff to make working at AJAM a positive experience."