©2011 Galesburg Broadcasting Co.
|Television Station and Union Spar
|The union representing employees of the combined newsroom of two Peoria television stations are continuing to turn to the public to try and get station management to get the very thought of outsourcing out of their minds.
A rally is being held outside the studios of WEEK-TV and WHOI-TV in East Peoria at 5:00 Wednesday evening, hosted by the Peoria chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or AFTRA.
Union members at the station over the weekend rejected what the station called its "last, best, and final offer" because, WEEK photographer and sports reporter Josh Simon says, it still contained language that would allow for newsroom operations to be outsourced to parent company Granite Broadcasting's control hub in Fort Wayne, Indiana, even though the station says they have no intention of doing so.
Simon is on the union bargaining committee and tells WGIL that's not the only contract language that's of great concern from an ethical standpoint.
"It's always been the people in the news department doing the news," Simon said. "This would allow them to use anyone in the building to do our jobs. So they could have sales people, they could have production people, they could give the receptionist a camera and tell her to go out and shoot a story."
WEEK and WHOI's AFTRA employees are currently working without a contract. Simon says Granite has tried this before: weekend weather at WEEK for a time was produced in Fort Wayne until the union intervened, and a newscast for a Granite station in Detroit is currently produced and anchored in Fort Wayne, using some Detroit-based reporters.
The situation has garnered a lot of media attention in the last several months, which might want to make some Galesburg viewers switch to stations in the Quad Cities instead. Simon tells WGIL he urges viewers to stick with the station, in part, beucase he believes the station is involved in things Galesburg residents care about.
"We are members of the community," Simon said. "We have done things for the community. I know people from Galesburg come up for Race for the Cure; we have taken an active part in that. We are the home of the St. Jude Telethon every year. Our people -- not only do we run that telethon, but our people run back from Memphis. We volunteer to do that telethon. Not one person that does that telethon is paid for that night."
WEEK/WHOI General Manager Mark DeSantis declined to comment for this story.
|04 27 11 by Newsroom
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