SAG-AFTRA and NPR Reach Agreement on Successor Contract Covering 521 Staff Members National Public Radio and SAG-AFTRA have agreed on a new nationwide contract

SAG-AFTRA and NPR Reach Agreement on Successor Contract Covering 521 Staff Members

Stephen Voss/Stephen Voss
NPR Headquarters in Washington, DC on April 9, 2013.
Stephen Voss/Stephen Voss

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 30, 2021) National Public Radio and SAG-AFTRA have agreed on a new nationwide contract that includes 2.5% pay raises each year through 2025, provides 20 weeks of paid parental leave, and includes a number of important diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments. Members approved the contract Sept. 30 by a vote of 324–4, and the SAG-AFTRA Washington-Mid Atlantic Local Executive Board ratified the agreement by a unanimous vote the same day. The parties will meet for a formal signing ceremony on October 1, 2021. Final approval of the agreement is pending review and ratification by the SAG-AFTRA executive committee later in October. Upon approval, the contract takes effect retroactive to 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2021.

The contract covers 521 NPR audio and digital public media professionals, including hosts; correspondents; newscasters; reporters; announcers; editors; producers; research, archive and data strategists; and news app developers and designers represented by SAG-AFTRA. Formal negotiations for a successor agreement began on July 27 and concluded on Sept. 28, 2021, and were conducted in addition to ongoing productive and collaborative talks throughout the pandemic. Members supported the negotiations with social media posts using the tagline, "Wherever we are, we make NPR."

"Congratulations to SAG-AFTRA members at NPR on their new contract," said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. "The power of collective action was on display for all to see with the successful 'Wherever we are, we make NPR' social media campaign. It demonstrates what's possible when members stay engaged and stand together. We thank NPR for recognizing the significant contributions of our SAG-AFTRA members."

"The productive relationship between NPR and our unions has been essential during this ongoing pandemic, and the conversations we have had with SAG-AFTRA and NABET have helped us navigate through multiple crises these past months," said NPR CEO John Lansing. "Since arriving at NPR, I have been thinking about ways we can expand our support for employees, not just during the pandemic, but throughout their work experience. This contract puts into print several advancements that have been on my radar for some time, including many that touch on our diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities."

"I'm proud to have represented the hundreds of journalists at NPR and proud to have worked cooperatively with NPR in negotiating this contract," said Becky Sullivan, a reporter on NPR's NewsDesk and lead unit member of the negotiating team. "I know it will help NPR's producers, editors, reporters, hosts, newscasters and other staff do the very best work we can, while also helping NPR live up to its public service mission to the American people.

"Members led our team in shaping this contract," said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. "Through their persistence and dedication, they achieved a contract that values the work they do by providing commitments on advancing equity and inclusion, increased parental leave, a more equitable pay structure and a commitment to pursue additional enhancements that improve work-life balance. This deal frees them to continue to do what they do best: create high-quality programming."

Contract highlights include:

  • Twenty weeks of fully paid parental leave — up from the previous eight weeks — and 26 weeks of job protection for leave taken for the birth, adoption, foster or other placement of a child.
  • A commitment that at least 30% of external candidates interviewed for regular bargaining unit positions be from underrepresented groups that advance NPR's diversity goals.
  • Improvements to the minimum salary system that will help ensure greater pay transparency and equity. In addition to an upcoming January 2022 general wage increase, about 150 SAG-AFTRA-covered employees will also receive a further increase as a result of these new minimums.
  • A more transparent promotions process.

The new contract exemplifies NPR and SAG-AFTRA's strengthened partnership. Both organizations worked together throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety and wellbeing of NPR staff and to preserve SAG-AFTRA jobs. Among other things, the new contract reflects NPR and SAG AFTRA's mutual commitment to realizing NPR's DEI priorities, including ensuring transparent, fair, and equitable practices related to hiring, career development, pay, and promotions.

NPR and SAG-AFTRA look forward to supporting NPR's mission and service to the American public for years to come.

In addition to NPR, SAG-AFTRA also represents public media professionals at NHPR in Concord, New Hampshire; WAMU in Washington, D.C.; Marketplace APM; WHYY in Philadelphia; KPCC in Pasadena, California; KPBS in San Diego; WBEZ in Chicago; KUOW in Seattle; Minnesota Public Radio, MPR Current and Classical; digital, per diem, temp and Gothamist employees at New York Public Radio; WBUR in Boston; KCRW in Santa Monica, California; and WBGO in Newark, New Jersey.

About NPR

NPR, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is widely known for its rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it's easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, "Play NPR," and you'll be tuned into your local Member station's live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit sagaftra.org and follow @sagaftranews for breaking news from SAG-AFTRA.