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Labor Negotiations

‘Good Day New York’ Producers Protest Proposed Pay Cuts

good day new york logoSegment producers and writers for “Good Day New York,” the morning newscast on WNYW in New York City,  have delivered a petition to station management protesting proposed pay cuts in contract negotiations between the Fox-owned station and the Writers Guild of America, East. The group has been working without a contract since last year.

Forty-one members signed the petition, which was emailed to Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and CFO Betsy Swanson and delivered in person to WNYW assistant news director Emad Asghar.

The petition, obtained by TVSpy, asks that station management “return to the negotiating table and quickly come to terms on a fair contract”:

At this point the company shows no sign of coming off of a host of unreasonable positions, including big cuts to segment producer salaries, an unwillingness to increase pension contributions to secure our retirement security, meal period give backs, a reduction in night shift differential, and other concessions. Enough is enough.

Our last raise was in 2011. Inflation has increased significantly since then and the cost of living and working in New York City has increased even more. At the same time, the company has realized cost savings by shutting down the WWOR evening news program and then eliminating the WNYW investigative unit. Similarly, our productivity has increased as we have taken on new duties. Of course, the company is also saving money by keeping the contract open and avoiding pay increases. This appears to be a part of the plan, as no reasonable person would be likely to agree to the kinds of cut backs that remain on the table.

A station source tells TVSpy that the producers and writers have been offered a 6% pay increase over the next three years. The previous contract, which ran from 2008-12, was a 12% increase over four years. Read more

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WCVB in Dispute with Senate Hopeful over Union Dispute

A Massachusetts Congressman running for a seat in the U.S. Senate is wielding his campaign’s advertising funds to bring an end to what he is saying is a contract dispute between Boston ABC affiliate WCVB and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 1228.

However, the Boston Herald is reporting WCVB president and general manager Bill Fine has rejected Rep. Stephen Lynch‘s claims the station is in a contract dispute with the union and said Lynch has relied on “erroneous assumptions.”

Friday, Lynch sent a letter to Fine saying he was excited to participate in an upcoming debate at the Boston ABC affiliate, but he will not spend his ad money with the station due to a contract dispute with IBEW. Read more

AFTRA Protests at WTAE in Ongoing Union Fight

The fight between station management and on-air talent continues at WTAE, the ABC-affiliate in Pittsburgh.

At a rally at the station last week, a group of community leaders delivered 2,000 petition signatures and postcards from the public to WTAE management. The union also encouraged viewers to call Mike Hayes, the general manager of WTAE, and express support for the station talent during the hours of the rally.

Reporters and anchors at WTAE voted for union representation 18 months ago, but there has been little progress in negotiations with Hearst, the parent company of WTAE. Earlier this month, station talent launched a social media campaign called “Fairness 4 WTAE.”

In Contract Dispute, WTAE Talent Launches Social Media Campaign

More than 20 on-air personalities at WTAE, Pittsburgh’s ABC-affiliate, have launched a social media campaign called “Fairness 4 WTAE” to protest what they say is unfair treatment by station management.

The 23 anchors and reporters have been represented by AFTRA since June 2010. Since then, no progress has been made in more than a dozen collective bargaining sessions to reach a contract, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The next meeting is Tuesday.

The sticking point is the issue of scheduling. The “Fairness 4 WTAE” Facebook and Twitter accounts feature anecdotal examples, such as: “How would you feel if your employer told you your pre-approved, scheduled in advance time off for the holidays was cancelled?” Read more

WHDH, Union Reach Three-Year Contract Agreement

After two years of negotiations, WHDH and AFTRA, the union that represents the on-air talent at the Boston NBC-affiliate, have reached a contract agreement.

The Boston Globe reports that the final contract is a three-year deal that will eliminate fees paid to anchors and reporters for on-air appearances — which was a sticking point in the ongoing battle — in exchange for a two percent increase in their base salaries.

Tom Higgins, executive director of AFTRA’s Boston chapter, said it was a “very difficult and protracted negotiation, particularly over the issue of fees.” The national and local AFTRA board approved the new contracts last Wednesday. Read more

After Outspoken Comments on Labor Dispute, Mike Dimmick Cut Loose at Peoria’s WEEK

Mike Dimmick has been shown the door at Granite Broadcasting’s WEEK following his outspoken comments about the ongoing labor dispute at the station in the Peoria Journal-Star yesterday.

“I can confirm that Mike Dimmick no longer works for WEEK-TV,” news director Don Shafer told TVSpy in an email. “Mike has been a great employee of this station for nearly 29 years. We will miss him dearly as we move on. Mike accepted employment elsewhere and we wish him nothing but the best.”

AFTRA — the union that represents WEEK talent — told a different story in a statement on their Facebook page. Read more

Mike Dimmick On WEEK Departure: ‘It’s Been a Slow Slide From the Journalism I Knew’

After 28 years with Granite-owned WEEK, the NBC affiliate in Peoria, evening anchor Mike Dimmick has announced his departure, citing the station’s handling of recent contract disputes, as well as a general decline in standards, as the reasons behind his decision.

“It’s been a long march toward it, driven by what’s going on at the station,” he told the Peoria Journal-Star. “Not just the recent contract dispute, but the way the station has gone down over the years.”

Contract negotiations between employees at WEEK and Granite Broadcasting disintegrated last spring, after the union voted down a contract offer that would allow for the outsourcing of news and weather broadcasts. “There are terrific people in that newsroom who will continue to put out a great product, but the ownership basically ignores the experience and expertise of the people in the newsroom,” Dimmick said. “It’s been a slow slide from the journalism I knew.” Read more

In Ongoing Union Battle, WHDH Talent Takes to the Picket Line at Station Event

The battle between WHDH and AFTRA — the union that represents the NBC affiliate’s on-air talent — is heating up in Boston.

WHDH talent — including those pictured at left, Victoria Warren, Frances Rivera and Adam Williams (all wearing black)– protested outside the station’s annual Health and Wellness Expo over the weekend, waving signs that said, “AFTRA Contract Now!”

Much of the station’s talent has been working without a contract since last year as the union and the station attempt an agreement over salary and age discrimination concerns. The Boston Herald‘s Jessica Heslam reports that according to AFTRA, the Sunbeam Television-owned station has ceased negotiations in the fight.

In addition to the signs, WHDH anchors and reporters also handed out fliers outside the Expo, urging attendees to call station general manager Chris Wayland and “tell him you support a fair workplace for broadcasters.”

WRTV Anchor Battles AFTRA Over Dues

Trisha Shepherd, who anchors the 6, 7, and 11 p.m. newscasts for Indianapolis’s WRTV, has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against AFTRA claiming that the union is trying to collect dues that she doesn’t owe.

According to The Indianapolis Star, AFTRA has been attempting to collect $1,032 from Shepherd, who joined WRTV in 2007, even though she isn’t a union member and the last labor agreement between AFTRA and WRTV’s owner McGraw-Hill Broadcasting expired in 2009.

Shepherd filed the complaint with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has been connected to the recent right-to-work disputes in Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. She has made it clear, though, that the filing isn’t intended as a political statement.

“I’m just like any other citizen trying to protect myself,” Shepherd told the Star.

Labor Dispute Escalates at Peoria’s WEEK-WHOI

Staff at Peoria’s WEEK-WHOI have been working without a formal labor deal since February and, after rejecting Granite Broadcasting’s “final offer” in April, they are now enlisting the support of the local community.

At issue in WEEK-WHOI’s dispute with Granite and Silver Point Capital, Granite’s largest investor, is the company’s unwillingness to ensure that local news will in fact stay local. Other Granite stations have been asked to outsource some of their news production, including weather, and WEEK-WHOI want to make sure that all of the local news they air is produced within their market.

At the end of April, following the rejection of Granite’s so-called “final offer,” WEEK-WHOI organized a rally at the station and invited members of the community to participate. And now WEEK-WHOI staffers, with support from AFTRA, are distributing flyers and asking local residents to sign a petition. Read more

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