“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.
“On Thursday, management at WEEK-TV pulled AFTRA member Mike Dimmick from the air after 29 years as one of Central Illinois’ most trusted news anchors,” the statement reads. “Yesterday, PJStar.com broke news about Mike’s planned departure on Sept. 16. See a connection? We do.”
In his remarks in the Peoria Journal-Star, Dimmick was critical of station management’s handling of the labor dispute that has been ongoing since the beginning of the year. The contested issue in the negotiations, which have pitted station employees against Granite, is the assurance that WEEK-WHOI jobs will not be outsourced, as they have been at other Granite stations.
On-air station employees — who have been working without a contract since they rejected a “final offer” from Granite in April — want their employment contract to contain language that ensures all local news will be produced within their market.
In addition to noting a general decline in journalism throughout his tenure at the station, Dimmick was critical, as AFTRA is, of Silver Point Capital, a distressed-debt private investment firm that owns a majority interest in Granite Broadcasting. “All they’ve done is make cuts, to squeeze as much as they could out of the station,” he said.