Staff at M+R Strategic Services Votes Guild

Members of a prospective bargaining unit of nearly 90 workers at a communications firm that specializes in work for nonprofit organizations voted Sept. 20 to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

A majority of the eligible employees of M+R Strategic Services had signed union-representation cards by early last summer. But when they asked the firm to voluntarily recognize the Guild, management opted to have the National Labor Relations Board conduct an election.

Workers filed their petition for an election in July. Shortly thereafter, the Guild defeated management’s effort to exclude from the election process 19 potential unit members as voters. When the balloting was finished, the results showed that nearly 60 percent of the staff favored Guild representation.

Bruce Jett, the Guild’s organizing consultant, helped the M+R staffers navigate the ins and outs of the process. “They wanted a true voice at work. They really vetted the Guild before they committed to us,” he said.

The new Guild members work long hours, Jett said, “but they love their work and love the company.” Among their concerns were health care, pay and greater transparency, he said.

The online advocacy company works on strategic visibility events and social media campaigns, primarily with labor unions and other nonprofits.

In addition to its office in Washington, M+R has offices in New York City, Oakland (Calif.), Los Angeles, and Boston.