Since May of 2011, the producers, editors, photographers and other NABET-CWA* workers at KTTV and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles have been trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract with the owner of the stations, Fox Television – but the company has something else in mind.
Fox wants to end the standard 40-hour work week by putting NABET members on a seven-and-a-half-hour work day, and the management also wants to eliminate the paid meal period — which has been an industry standard for decades. Cutting back employees to a 37.5 hour work week effectively amounts to a 6.25 percent wage cut.
It doesn’t end there.
Fox also wants to cut vacation days, sick days, holidays and meal penalties. Premium pay for daily employees would be drastically reduced. Put it all together and many employees would see their wages and benefits reduced by 10 to 20 percent!
These are challenging times for the television industry, with many stations facing increasing competition from cable and the Internet. These Fox TV stations are still very profitable and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in operating income to [their] parent company, News Corp.
We simply will not accept these cuts, and we’ve told the company that during nearly two years of negotiations. They responded by cancelling our contracts.
On January 17th, we held our first informational picket outside the Fox 11 building in Los Angeles. Dozens of NABET members wearing red shirts rallied outside the station for four hours. Judging by the “honks” of support we got from passing drivers on busy Bundy Drive – our goal of putting a stop to Fox’s corporate greed has a ready audience.
Last week, the NABET-CWA 53 workers got a helping hand from the L.A. County Federation of Labor’s Executive Council, who voted unanimously for a strike sanction against Fox’s two Los Angeles TV stations if NABET 53 workers are locked out or go on strike. A strike sanction means other unions would be advised to honor our picket lines.
We’re not asking for anything more than what we’ve got. We’re just trying to keep what we have. And we need your support.
Please join our “Turn Off Fox 11” campaign by visiting us on Facebook. “Like” our page and share our story with your Facebook friends.
*National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America.
(Steve Ross is President of NABET-CWA Local 53. His post first appeared on Labor’s Edge and is republished with permission.)