For the past 15 years, Granite Broadcasting has managed to destroy just about everything it put it’s hands on. From taking a once-mighty #1 rated newscast in Buffalo to #3, to completely blowing up a news department in Syracuse.
Now, Granite is attempting to take local news content from one of its stations and having it prepared from another city. AFTRA, the local union representing anchors, reporters and photographers and producers at WEEK-WHOI in central Illinois objects to what it considers is Granite’s desire to use news content produced outside of the market.
The members have been working for the past two weeks without a formal labor contract and now members of the stations’ news team are going on record about the ongoing negotiations between their union and the company.
“We believe local news should be local,” anchor Gina Morss told the Peoria Journal Star.
The union contract covering members of the WEEK-WHOI news team expired on February 18th and AFTRA is set to meet with Granite for a bargaining session on March 21st. In the meantime, the union has authorized anchor Garry Moore, the local union president, to call a strike.
Moore told the Journal Star that some type of job action is possible, but would not say if that includes a walk-out.
For those of you who don’t remember, Granite and Barrington Broadcasting entered into a Shared Services Agreement in 2009. Syracuse’s CBS affiliate WTVH, which is owned by Granite, shut down its news department and gave the bulk of the news and sales department’s responsibility to NBC affiliate WSTM, which is owned by Barrington. The same was done for Peoria’s ABC affiliate WHOI, which is owned by Barrington. That station’s news department was shut down and its news and sales responsibilities given to NBC affiliate WEEK, owned by Granite.
In the middle, dozens of workers were put out of work, contributing to the country’s economic problems. Granite continues the disregard to working families by cutting corners any way it can, all for the sake of its “bottom line”.
How low can Granite go? Not far enough, and it’s sickening to watch!