As I take a day off from a job I truly enjoy going to every day, I’m reminded of what my life was like a year and a half ago with an article published today.
IBEW members at WGME-TV, channel 13 in Portland, Maine had their pay wages cut as much as 10%, as Sinclair Broadcast Group (Yep, that Sinclair!) began implementing parts of their contract offer without an agreement by the workers and their Union.
The union’s negotiating team brought proposals to the bargaining table with the hope of reaching an agreement with Sinclair. However, the company pulled the plug on talks by declaring an impasse. This, even as Sinclair thanked IBEW negotiators for all the movement they were making.
IBEW Local 1837 represents Operating Technicians, News Editors, Assignment Editors, Photographers, Engineers, Producers and Directors. The union reluctantly proposed a wage freeze for at least a year.
However, Sinclair insisted on deep cuts, despite admitting that the cuts were not because of any financial crisis, but simply because they felt that their workers were overpaid.
This as shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group rose 5 percent in the first quarter of this year after the company posted a smaller fourth-quarter loss. The company reported that their quarter finished stronger than expected due mainly to improving advertising spending by the auto industry.
To some, it appears Sinclair was taking advantage of the current economic downturn to force unnecessary concessions on their workers. IBEW 1837 representatives are consulting with legal counsel to determine what their next steps will be.
The answer is clearly obvious! The contract must be torn up and members must do everything within their power to fight for their hard earned money. Unfortunately, and as I’ve learned during my time as a union steward, members are very reluctant to get involved in anything that matters.
Apathy within union members is a big problem. It’s hard to get anyone to do anything. But with a situation like what Sinclair is doing to it own workers, it’s a no brainer. The question now is, will IBEW union members hear the call?
One thing’s for sure, I don’t miss the bullshit!