Organizing in the broadcast industry has been difficult since the Great Recession but Boston Local 1228 just scored two wins. Over the last three months, 20 directors and production assistants at WMUR in Manchester, New Hampshire, and nearly 30 sports broadcast technicians voted to join the union.
In a classic show of solidarity, Local 1228 had help from their own members. The photographers at WMUR, an ABC affiliate, have been members since 2003. The master control and live truck operators joined three years later.
|Local 1228 just scored two organizing wins, bucking the trend that started during the Great Recession.
"We knew it was just a matter of time before the production department would see what was happening to the wages and working conditions of their co-workers who were in a union," said Local 1228 Business Manager Fletcher Fischer. "This station is ground zero for presidential campaigns and the revenue that Hearst, WMUR’s parent company, brings in tends to leave New Hampshire for its New York headquarters unless you put pressure on the corporation. That's what this union does."
The local began bargaining for the directors and production assistants’ first contract in June and expects to have a deal before the presidential primaries in January, if not this fall, said Fischer.
A second win involved sports broadcast technicians who cover all positions for broadcasting games including camera, video, audio and technical direction.
The technicians, who often crew for Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots games, signed their first contract with Seattle-based LDM Worldwide Corporation July 1. The agreement with LDM builds on the success Local 1228 had with another sports broadcast, Program Productions. As such, the local was able to secure good wage increases and acquire benefit contributions from LDM. The wage increases range from three to nearly 20 percent.
And their unit of almost 30 members is expected to grow. Fischer said when bargaining unit members are not available for games, they hire other technicians who eventually become members. That means more good things to come for Local 1228.
Referring to both the LDM and Program Productions contracts, Local 1228 organizer Steve Katsos said, "We are proud to have our second sports tech contract signed and in effect in just under nine months. New England sports market techs are some of the best in the business and they deserve the respect and economic justice these union contracts bring."
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Mike Mozart.