As if MSNBC doesn't have enough problems, now word comes that MSNBC host Chris Hayes attended a secret meeting with employees of Peacock Productions, an NBC Universal-owned production outfit that is seeking to unionize.
Salon.com writes that Hayes is one of five prime-time MSNBC hosts – along with Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz – whose support the Writers Guild of America–East is seeking in an ugly labor struggle with Peacock Productions, which is owned by NBC Universal and has produced programming for MSNBC. A petition posted by the AFL-CIO and hosted by MoveOn.org Civic Action asks the five hosts to “Please meet with these workers and take a public stand to support their right to organize” at Peacock Productions. None of the five has so far publicly addressed the issue.
Hayes, Maddow, Sharpton and O’Donnell did not comment in response to Monday inquiries (sent to MSNBC or personal email addresses, to Sharpton’s National Action Network, and to Random House, which published Maddow’s book; Random House referred the inquiry to MSNBC).
But, asked about the campaign, Schultz emailed Salon, “Moveon.org has never been an ally of Ed Schultz, why should I help you with a story? Give me a reason.” A follow-up email was not answered. (The email came from a personal address provided to Salon by people who have been in touch with him there; following a series of inquiries, an MSNBC spokesperson said, “I can’t confirm that e-mail address,” but declined to dispute that it belonged to Schultz.)
In apparent contrast to his colleagues, Hayes met with Peacock Productions workers in a private meeting with WGA-E staff at the union’s office, according to people who were in the room (Hayes did not respond to a Monday request to comment on that account). “We presented our case to Chris Hayes and he understood what we were dealing with …” Peacock Productions worker David Van Taylor told Salon. “I don’t know whether Chris Hayes will do anything in support of us – you know, of this campaign. I have no idea. But he listened and he heard us. And you know, I appreciate that he took the time to listen.