After months of watching how their superiors handle sexual misconduct, the employees of NBC News Digital had the completely rational response to unionize in order to get transparency about how sexual misconduct would be handled.
On Wednesday, workers at the news behemoth’s digital arm announced they would be organizing with the NewsGuild of New York to “build a more equitable workplace,” which includes treating sexual misconduct as an actual problem, rather than something to be brushed aside. “Recent weeks have highlighted serious questions as to how NBC News has handled incidents of sexual misconduct in the workplace as well as the opaque processes and procedures for reporting on and exposing powerful predators,” the union said in a statement.
Christine Nguyen, an NBC News Digital producer who is part of the unionization, said Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill—full of revelations about NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and his boss NBC News Chairman Andy Lack—helped the union drive. “The last few weeks have been really animating for people. It sped up the process,” Nguyen told HuffPost.
Nguyen specifically highlighted the need to have management that treats sexual misconduct seriously. “There is apparently a culture where people who might have known about this felt uncomfortable or unwilling to go to HR or to go to management. That is something that needs to be addressed,” she told HuffPost.
In late October, The Wall Street Journal reported similar calls by NBC News employees to shake up NBC News leadership. But The Washington Post has reported that Oppenheim and Lack still have their allies and supporters.
But former NBC News anchor Linda Vester, who accused Tom Brokaw of sexual misconduct in 2017, told HuffPo says she has heard from many employees via Silence Breakers Alliance. “I can’t tell you how many current and former NBC people have been emailing me and saying, ‘how is it that heads aren’t rolling yet?’” Vester told HuffPost.