Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Unions in Newsrooms

In one week (Monday June 6), KOIN's photographers, editors and technicians will vote to join NABET (Nat'l Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians). Later this summer, reporters and anchors will vote whether to join AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).

KOIN hasn't had a union shop for a long time. There are some unions and guilds in different newsrooms. As expected KOIN's management has asked employees to consider a no vote.

In the weeks ahead, you will be hearing from your supervisors and managers as to why we believe it is in all our interests to "vote no". Please understand that even if you signed an "authorization card" regarding this union, you still have a chance to vote for or against the union in the secret ballot election.

Unions represent lots of people in Portland's newsrooms. Do they help? KOIN employees are mostly hoping someone will stand for them on work rule issues (overtime, short callback, etc.).

I'm hoping folks can use this site to help them understand the plusses and minuses before they vote.


Anonymous What a TeamPlayer! said...

Does a station need union representation? Depends on the working conditions. I work at KPTV, where I have the best GM and News Director (your correspondent McCreery) I've worked with in 13 years here in Stumptown. I can't imagine someone trying to start a union here. Of course there are always little gripes and whining, but in general management is very good at scheduling, comp days, need a day off to find some fresh meth...you know, that sort of stuff...
But from what I hear, I would definitely vote a union back in at KOIN if I worked there.
So how would a yes vote affect on-air talent contracts? Or does it only affect future contracts? And is there any possibility Emmis will play hardball and lock out the workers? Didn't that happen somewhere back East?
And if Jeff & Kelley vote YES, do they still get an underground parking spot?????? All big questions that need to be answered.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generally union contracts don't effect anchor contracts because they usually make more than AFTRA minimum. That could change though with reporter contracts. But first you have to understand that if they vote in AFTRA, then AFTRA would then have to sit down with management and come up with a collective bargaining agreement. Setting minimum working conditions and yearly pay (scale), that sort of thing. If they get a contract similar to markets I've worked in before, AFTRA will have it so reporters have to have 2 consecutive days off.... they might not get straight overtime though.. company might pay a pre pay kind of overtime that covers say 10 hours a week. Meaning they'll probably get the same pay as now and no overtime, plus having to pay union dues. I've worked under AFTRA and without AFTRA and I'm glad I had it and I'm glad I didn't. As the above poster said, it depends on management. If they're good and treat you decent and the pay is good.. no need for AFTRA. If they take advantage of you, don't ask if you can work overtime but instead tell.. don't respect you, the it's good to have the union card to play.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Some guy said...

My experience, having successfully initated an AFTRA organization, is that it's effective mainly as a way of saying screw-you to a management you do not trust; it throws some obstacles in their path. If the vote is favorable, the next step is negotiation of a contract, whose terms will materially improve the situation but perhaps not substantially. There will be inconveniences that flow both ways; the granting of days off, trading shifts, things like that will be subject to rules that both sides must abide by and may not like much. It will take awhile to negotiate the contract, there will be bad blood and some people will leave--some under suspicious circumstances, and it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for unfair labor practice grievances to be filed should anyone be illegally singled out for punishment for union activity. In other words, it can get very nasty. Sometimes that's the intent of forming a union; it certainly was in my case, and although I decided to leave within a few months, it was fun hassling the management assholes, and the people who followed me benefitted. Some.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 9:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask the people who were laid off two years ago at OPB if they favor the union. They got their jobs back when the union went to war for them.
OPB has been trying to bust the union there for years...and it's doing a good job of moving people to "management" positions and eliminating union positions.
Management's job is to screw the workers. unions help.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 7:50:00 AM  
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