Philadelphia, Southeast House members call on WHYY board of directors for fair collective bargaining agreement, fair wages

20 state House members signed the letter, including a WHYY alumna

PHILADELPHIA, June 29 – Twenty members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the Philadelphia and Southeast delegations sent a letter in support of the workers at public media station WHYY.  

The letter, sent to the CEO and the WHYY board of directors, called for a fair collective bargaining agreement, fair wages and predictable, fair work schedules. As public media consumers, lawmakers and Philadelphia region residents, the House members said WHYY clearly is a valuable piece of local community journalism for the region that needs to support its workers. 

A former WHYY reporter and producer, state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., said, “As a reporter at WHYY for a decade prior to being elected in 2018, I saw firsthand many of the conditions that workers are talking about. It’s unacceptable and troubling. Many of the current workers were my colleagues when I started as a freelance reporter at WHYY years ago. Today, my state House colleagues and I stand in solidarity with them. They are important, valuable parts of the news and information that consumers receive. It is their labor that has helped build WHYY’s brand; they deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully.”   

The letter, which was emailed to the WHYY leadership on Tuesday, and which Fiedler, the Philadelphia Delegation secretary, will hand deliver on Wednesday, can be found here.  

In the letter, members of the Philadelphia and Southeast delegations outline low wages and wage inequity as key issues facing journalists at WHYY. The members wrote in the letter that they “count on WHYY as a lead producer of quality programming across our region, to keep our constituents up to date and informed,” and urged the leadership of WHYY to agree to a contract that will address employees’ concerns. 

Philadelphia Magazine reported Tuesday that one issue the WHYY union has raised is the $740,000 salary paid to the WHYY CEO. Lawmakers also referenced the high salaries for executives compared to the low salaries for new and long-term employees in the letter they wrote.