Monday, February 28, 2011

Mylous Hairston Abruptly Exits WIVB Amid Labor Negotiations and Continued Cost-Cutting - TVSpy

By Andrew Gauthier

Just six months after celebrating his 20th anniversary with WIVB, reporter-anchor Mylous Hairston abruptly resigned on Thursday.

The timing and circumstances surrounding Hairston’s departure from the Buffalo CBS-affiliate suggest a deep-seated rift with the station’s owner, LIN TV.

Mylous Hairston
Hairston is the president of the local chapter of AFTRA and was the chief negotiator in recent labor discussions with LIN. According to Buffalo media reporter Alan Pergament, Hairston left after two long days of AFTRA negotiations with the station.

Last summer, LIN imposed a new mandate requiring reporters to learn how to shoot their own video.

WIVB general manager Chris Musial sent a terse email to staff announcing Hairston’s departure. “I appreciate his contributions over the years and wish him well and success in the future,” Musial wrote.

It appears that Hairston was the victim of LIN’s recent cost-cutting measures, as Pergament writes:

"Morale inside the station’s news department is said to be at its lowest level in years as LIN attempts to cut higher salaries and eliminate veterans so they can be replaced by cheaper people hired right out of college."

Over the years, Hairston endeared himself to Buffalo viewers with his affability and candor.

“I knew I would leave at some point this year,” veteran reporter-anchor Mylous-Hairston told The Buffalo News about his abrupt departure last week from WIVB. “I just decided now is the time. We talked about it on Wednesday and finalized it on Thursday. It came together quickly. I’ve been looking to do something different. I have nothing lined up.”

“These are tough times all over in the media field,” said Hairston. “It’s just very tough. As more work is piled on, people are struggling at times to maintain the quality. It’s more challenging than it’s ever been.”

Buffalo New reporter Jane Kwiatkowski wrote, Hairston said he was not asked to leave, nor was he forced out of his job. He would not confirm or deny reports that he had a severance agreement with the company. Chris Musial, WIVB station president and general manager, did not return a call seeking comment.

“We are still very far apart,” said Hairston, describing AFTRA’s negotiations with the station, “and we started talking in 2008. I had hoped we would have a deal by this point, but everything the union put out there, the company said no.”

Hairston’s presence at the bargaining table will be missed, said Mary Cavallaro, assistant national executive director for news and broadcasting for AFTRA.

“Mylous has been a strong voice and dedicated advocate for the AFTRA members at WIVB,” said Cavallaro, reached by phone on a train to New Jersey. “He will certainly be missed by his newsroom colleagues and the viewers.”

Former anchor Lisa Flynn talked with Hairston by phone Thursday shortly after he left the station.

“I was surprised that it happened, but not surprised at the reason,” Flynn told The News Friday night. “It’s not the same business as when he and I started 25 years ago, being asked to do more with less and compromising the quality of our product.”

Of continuing concern to union members is the right to assign camera and editing duties to reporters. Hairston said the station’s reporters had been trained to shoot and edit.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I actually went out Wednesday and shot my own video, which never made air. It was a struggle. It’s a different skill set. The last time I shot and edited video was when I was leaving Elmira in 1989.”

The Buffalo State College graduate started working at the station in August 1990, after television reporting stints in Syracuse and Elmira. He also worked in Buffalo on the radio for the former WYSL-AM and WPHD-FM.

Hairston, who has fully recovered after a minor heart attack and resulting stent surgery in the summer of 2009, plans to be at the gym early for his regular workout.

“Thursdays and Fridays are my days off,” he said. “And Saturday I’ll be at the gym at 7 o’clock. That’s when it’s going to hit me. I’m on vacation for as long as I want to be.”

Hairston, who said he has recently received a number of job offers, is mulling over his options. One thing is certain.

“I think I’m pretty much done with television,” he said. “The offers I was presented with were not in broadcasting. It’s not like I’ll go to Channel 2 or Channel 7 or some other outlet in town.”

Hairston’s swift departure prevented an on-air farewell, but word spread quickly on Facebook on Thursday evening, so quickly that Hairston was concerned his 82-year-old mother would learn about his departure before he could tell her in person.

“I was afraid with everything on Facebook, that she would hear something before I could tell her, and that she would be worried,” Hairston said. “After I explained it to her, the first words out of her mouth were: 'So when are you going to get a job?' "

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scapegoats in Wisconsin

Broadcast Union News: The "budget crisis" in Wisconsin was manufactured by the GOP. They passed corporate tax cuts that allow 75% of Wisconsin companies to pay 0%, nothing, nada, zilch in corporate taxes.
To balance out this massive reduction in revenue that created a "budget crisis" the GOP passes cuts in pay and benefits to State workers.

But the GOP's anti-labor agenda is far deeper in scope. The elimination of collective bargaining rights and dues check-off, along with draconian regulations requiring re-certification of every bargaining unit annually have nothing to do with balancing the State budget. This program is designed to undermine the union density and dues base of the public sector unions in order to eliminate union's ability to mobilize human and financial resources in support of labor friendly political candidates.

Organized labor funded Democratic Party candidates to the tune of $250 million dollars last election, a drop in the bucket compared to corporate political contributions, but still the only serious challenge to corporate interests in the political arena. This, combined with the countless thousands of volunteer hours contributed by millions of union members to pro-labor candidate's campaigns, was the only bulwark against a complete GOP sweep of gubernatorial races in 2010.

The demonizing and dismantling of public sector unions is designed to stop organized labor from participating in future political campaigns in any meaningful way.

This is not a Wisconsin based initiative, but rather a well coordinated, well funded, national campaign to undermine working people's political power across the nation.

We must all stand together in the fight to stop this effort to further limit access to real democracy in this country.

Solidarity Now and Forever!

Bob Daraio
Broadcast Union News

Below is a great article on the situation in Wisconsin.

Mark Erlich
Scapegoats in Wisconsin
Why is the middle class demonized when Wall Street is the problem?
February 23, 2011
Protesters and pro-labor demonstrators gather down State Street in Madison, Wis. after a rally outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.
WE ARE in the third winter of the recession; 26 million Americans are out of work, cannot find full-time work, or have given up looking for work, and $11 trillion in household wealth has vanished.
As winter turns to spring, there is an evolving perspective on the crisis, shifting from an attempt to identify the causes to blaming the victims.
Congress is aggressively looking to eliminate regulatory excesses that are presumably hindering economic recovery only weeks after the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, appointed by Congress in 2009, issued a report concluding that the crash was caused by 30 years of deregulation, the stripping of key safeguards, and an overly optimistic reliance on self-regulation by large financial institutions.

If the Republican approach were part of a homicide investigation, it would be as if the detectives had removed the smoking guns from the perpetrators’ hands and arrested the corpses.
Wisconsin is only the most dramatic site of a broader strategy of absolving Wall Street and scapegoating public employees and their unions. While there are legitimate and critical public policy issues about education reform, spiraling health costs, and pension liabilities at a time of state and municipal budget deficits, why is the fault laid at the feet of teachers, police, and firefighters?

Today’s pension obligations are the product of massive investment losses, not excessively generous public pensions that, in fact, average about $19,000 a year.

For that matter, a 2010 Economic Policy Institute study showed that, controlled for educational achievement, public sector workers actually earn less than their private sector counterparts.
With corporate profits at record levels, strong bank balance sheets, along with the return of large compensation packages in the financial sector, the commission’s reminder that the continuing devastation of the crisis was entirely avoidable is worth remembering.

"It was not the invisible hand of the free market but rather “the result of human action and inaction,’’ a reckless environment in which the five major investment banks had leverage ratios (assets protected by capital) as high as 40 to 1."
For a brief moment after the economy fell off the cliff, the excesses of financial manipulations put broader social and economic questions back on the table.

Why, for example, does the United States rank 31st out of the world’s 33 most advanced economies in terms of income inequality, more unequal than Third World countries such as Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela?

Why, according to the Census Bureau, has inequality increased by 22 percent, and why have the wealthiest 5 percent expanded their share of total income by 320 percent since 1980?

And why, during the same period, has average family income climbed less than 1 percent a year, especially when there are far more two-income earners in most families?
The emergence of an American middle class coincided with the growth of unions, and the rise in inequality has accompanied their decline. The myth of the American dream, of the United States as a meritocracy in which economic opportunity is universally available, has never been more in question.

Children from upper income families are now 20 times more likely to have high incomes of their own than children from low income families. Classic rags-to-riches stories are limited to professional athletes, celebrities, and fortunate individuals who manage to beat the odds.
Why does the gulf in economic equality matter? Research has repeatedly shown that negative indicators for health, educational performance, economic mobility, and a broad array of social issues are correlated with income inequality.

The more unequal a society, the less likely its citizens will have a stake in pulling in the same direction. A generation ago, non-union workers often welcomed news of improved wages and benefits for unionized employees, recognizing that a rising tide lifts all boats.

But today’s waters are murkier. At a time of sacrifice and insecurity, many would prefer to sink their neighbor’s slightly bigger boat while wistfully hoping for a glance at a yacht in a gated marina.
The demonizing of public employees is a calculated strategy to steer the political spotlight away from those who brought us the recession. If the focus is not shifted back to the root causes of the crisis, in the words of the commission, it will happen again.
Mark Erlich is executive secretary-treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

“Two And A Half Men” Season Gets Canceled - What Happens To The Crew?

Broadcast Union News: Corporate executives who run their companies into bankruptcy get bailed out with taxes paid by the same working people whose livelihoods have been destroyed by those same executive's greed. Highly compensated movie and TV stars can reek the same sort of havoc on the hard working people whose incomes are seriously effected by the behavior of those key actors.

Last Thursday, CBS pulled the plug on the remainder of the current season of “Two and a Half Men” following the latest in series of outrageous radio rants by actor Charlie Sheen.

Following the cancellation announcement, Charlie vowed to fight any attempt by CBS/Warner Bros. to withhold his $ 1.2 Million per episode salary for each of the canceled “Two and a Half Men” episodes.

As for his co-stars and crew, now facing unemployment as a result of Sheen's erratic behavior, Charlie said to “be patient.”

How much if anything the show's cast will receive is also uncertain at the moment. The regulars on the show have a 13-episode guarantee that has already been met, so, by invoking the force majeure clause in their contracts, the studio is not obligated to pay them for the canceled episodes.

“Be focused,” Charlie advised. “We are at war and there are ways to deal with these clowns and take all their money.” Easy for him to say, Sheen's “Two and a Half Men” contract nets him $27 million dollars annually.

The $350,000 per episode it costs to pay the 300 union represented writers, directors, ADs, script supervisors, camera crews, grips, set decorators, prop masters, electricians, painters, costumers, and crafts services folk who help produce an episode of “Two and a Half Men” each week is about one third the per episode fee paid to Charlie Sheen.

One of the key crew members on the set of “Two and a Half Men” told Deadline Hollywood, "We are really pissed. We don't get paid, if we don't work. So, if he's off getting rehabbed, or porn-o-ing, or whatever, we're screwed."

When contacted by Access Hollywood on Friday, a representative of Warner Bros., which produces the hit sitcom, had no comment regarding Charlie’s salary demands nor the alleged pay loss for the crew The studio is under no obligation to compensate the workers whenever “Two and a Half Men" is dark.

A source close to “Two and a Half Men” told on Friday that the show’s crew will not be completely out of a job now that their show has been canceled for the rest of the season, many of the crew will continue to work on Chuck Lorre’s other Warner Bros./CBS sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory.”

The “Two and a Half Men” IATSE, DGA, and WGA represented production crew will still suffer a large pay cut of about 35 percent in going from two shows to one, according to the same Warner Bros. insider.

"Two And A Half Men" earned CBS $114 million dollars in ad revenue in the first nine months of 2010 alone, according to Kantar Media. It also collects a network-high $206,722 per 30 second commercial, reports Advertising Age.

If the show can't return after this shortened season, it will still have a long life in re-runs and remain a cash cow. Warner Bros. still retains the syndication rights, and the show is watched almost as much in syndication each week as it is in prime-time.

Writers at "Two And A Half Men"
Ratings for the show stay strong even in reruns. New episodes have averaged 14.2 million viewers this season, compared to 10.6 million for reruns. This week's repeat scored 11.5 million viewers, more than most shows do with a new episode.

"Great would be an understatement," said one studio insider asked to describe the show's success, who said the show remains on-track to be a billion-dollar asset for Warner Bros. "This is one of the most successful sitcoms in the history of television."

While actors, writers and directors receive residual payments each time an episode airs, none of the crew that builds the sets, costumes, and props, lights and shoots the show, edits and plays the show to air shares in the revenue from reruns.

The bottom line is that much like the multi-million dollar a year executives at banks, brokerage firms, and major multi-national corporations who remain relatively unaffected by the economic devastation resulting from bad, short-sighted decisions which cause irreparable harm to their suppliers, customers, and employees, the highly compensated stars of movies and TV don't take responsibility, nor bear the brunt of the fallout from their bad choices.

Friday, February 25, 2011


February 25, 2011


In a vote on February 19th concerning the 2011 federal budget, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives cut the entire budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to ZERO. The potential elimination of federal funding from the budget for NPR, PBS, local public radio, and television stations (like WGBH and KQED) could affect the jobs of up to 1,500 NABET-CWA, TNG-CWA, and CWA members.

With the deadline fast approaching for Congress to agree upon a budget for the current fiscal year, this fight is urgent! The fight has now moved to the US Senate.

Please take action now by telling the Senate that Public Broadcasting in the United States is too important to be zeroed out!
Here’s what you can do:
  • Send an email to your US Senators: click here!
  • Call both of your US Senators– Tell Them “Don’t Zero Out Public Broadcasting!” 1-877-426-8013.
  • YOU CAN ALSO TEXT CPBFUND TO 69866 and we will call you back connected to the Senator’s office.
  • Write a handwritten letter to your Senator (one to each), and fax it to (202) 434-1426. We will make sure your fax is hand delivered to your Senator’s office.
Federal funding for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio on a national basis and at your local station level comes via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. While these broadcasters receive other funding from donors and grants, the elimination of Federal funding for CPB will be catastrophic. Of course, trimming the Federal Budget needs everyone’s attention, but cutting the funding for the jobs in our communities that bring us news, information, the performing arts, and educational programming is not going to solve the deficit and will cost workers their jobs, and citizens will lose the programming that they value.


For more information go to:   and Free Press

ABC Negotiations Begin

Negotiations began on February 22, 2011 for the successor contract with Disney/ABC. The current contract is set to expire on March 31, 2011. NABET-CWA representatives are meeting with ABC management in Los Angeles, CA through Friday, March 4th. Negotiations will then move to New York City during the last two-weeks of March.

On the first day of talks, opening statements were made on behalf of NABET-CWA by Sector President James C. Joyce, who is acting as Chief Spokesperson for the Union in these negotiations. In making his remarks, President Joyce stated, “NABET-CWA and ABC have had a long standing relationship. This relationship deserves that the parties use our experience to productively work through real issues of true importance to us and not get bogged down in minutiae demanding change for change’s sake”.

The Union Bargaining Committee, through its proposal package, is focusing on many improvements to the current agreement for staff and daily-hire members, especially in the areas of job security and overall compensation.

The NABET-CWA Bargaining Committee members present when talks opened were: Local 16 President Paul Vasquez, Local 31 member Tim Welch, Local 41 President Charles Braico, Local 51 President Kevin Wilson, Local 57 President Richard Daszkowski, and Sector President Joyce. Also attending on behalf of the Union were alternate bargaining committee members Art Mazzacca (Local 16), and Don Farnham, Jr. (Local 41).

To see all official negotiation and mobilization information for the ABC talks, click here.

Bargaining Updates

Tentative Agreement Reached at Univision in Chicago (Local 41)

NABET-CWA Local 41 reached a tentative agreement with WGBO/Univision on a successor collective bargaining agreement. The parties concluded negotiations on Monday, February 14, 2011 by agreeing to terms for a new contract. The deal is contingent on ratification by the bargaining unit not later than Monday, February 28, 2011.

The highlights of this package include:
  • 4-year agreement, expiring February 28, 2014
  • Wage increase of 3% retroactive to January 1, 2011
  • Wage increase of 2% on March 1, 2011
  • Wage increase of 2% on March 1, 2012
  • Wage increase of 2½ % on March 1, 2013
  • Company contribution to 401(k) for full-time employees remains at 5% throughout the life of the contract
  • Per Diem employees will now be eligible for Flex Plan benefits.
  • Shift change/cancellation penalty for Per Diem employees
  • Improved missed meal penalties
  • New provision for an additional meal period for employees who work 12 hours or longer
  • No major jurisdictional changes
A membership meeting was conducted on Wednesday, February 23rd. Ratification ballots were distributed at the meeting. Ballots are due back in the Local 41 office by 3pm on Friday, February 25, 2011.

Local 43 in Detroit Seeks Assistance for Stricken Member

Local 43 President Brian Moore has requested that the following be distributed on behalf of a member who recently had a stroke:

"Wendell Burke Jr is a 49 year old Photographer/editor for WJBK-TV. He suffered a stroke on February 11, 2011. His prognosis is unknown, but faces months of rehab with no income. He has been employed as a per diem since March of 2001.

Prior to coming to work for Fox 2 he worked with Detroit cable commission, Metro Traffic, Radio One and WGPR -TV and Radio stations. He's a 1983 graduate of Eastern Michigan University earning a degree in Telecommunications. He currently resides in Detroit with his mother in a home that he has lived in since age ten.

He has never been married and has no children. Wendell is the primary care taker for his elderly mother who is beset with numerous medical issues. He is also the lone bread winner in their home. Donations of any amount are welcomed and can be sent to: NABET-CWA Local 43 C/O Wendell Burke Fund 20833 Southfield Rd Suite 104 Southfield, MI 48075"

NABET-CWA Scholarship Applications for 2011 Are Now Available On-Line-Act Now-Deadline is in 30 Days!

Applications for the 2011 NABET-CWA Scholarships are now available on the Sector’s website. The scholarship is open to sons and daughters of active, retired, or deceased members.

Applicants must be students in a high school class graduating in 2011. The award supplies $750.00 yearly for four years as a partial payment of tuition or other expenses to the school designated by the winner. Winners must maintain at least a C+ average, or equivalent, during their four years in college and must attend full time.

The return date for the preliminary application is March 25, 2011. All applications must be verified by the Local President, before mailing the completed application to the Sector Office.

To download the application and to review the rules go to.:


The Signal NABET-CWA is published by e-mail approximately every two weeks, or as events warrant, to deliver the latest NABET-CWA updates electronically. NABET-CWA members and Local Officers are encouraged to send in your stories (and pictures) for future editions of The Signal.

All you have to do is email us at:

If you received The Signal as part of a forwarded message- you can sign up to have this newsletter delivered directly to your inbox by clicking here:
You have received this message through your subscription to a NABET-CWA e-mail list.
If you did not subscribe or would like to unsubscribe click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Solidarity, with Cheese!

Newly-elected Tea Party governor Scott Walker thought he could slash the Wisconsin state budget and dismantle 50 years of workers' rights without a fight, but boy was he wrong.

Hundreds of thousands of regular Wisconsinites—teachers, firefighters, police officers, students—have taken to the streets of Madison. They've occupied the capitol building for the last 7 days and nights.

But this isn't just about Wisconsin.

In state capitals across the country, and in Washington, D.C., Republicans are using the wrecked economy as an excuse to slash vital programs and hurt workers. The American Dream itself is under attack.

Rally outside Fox News NYC
This morning, leaders of the NYC Central Labor Council (CLC) held a press conference on the steps of City Hall hailing the public employees from Wisconsin and demonstrating solidarity with those union members who are facing an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining. In addition, union leaders in New York City issued a warning to their membership that public employee unions are being demonized throughout the country.

Yesterday, Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m., in front of FOX News headquarters, 1211 6th Ave at 48th Street,100s of workers from NYC Unions including CWA, AEA, AFTRA, SAG, IBEW, NABET, IATSE, and WGAE rallied with public service union members again in solidarity with Wisconsin workers against union-busting Gov. Scott Walker!

IBEW Local 1212 Senior Business Representative Vinny Butler was there, as was my wife Gayle, a long time IATSE 764 member. - Bob Daraio, Broadcast Union News

Rally outside Fox News NYC
So, next we're helping lead an emergency call for rallies in every state capital this Saturday at noon to support folks in Wisconsin and oppose these attacks, wherever they occur.

We have only 4 days to organize, so we're trying something unusual—asking thousands of individuals and local groups to add their names to this call to action. Will you share the call with your personal network—plus get any groups you're part of to sign on? Clicking here will add your name:

Get the word out about this Saturday's Rallies now! is finalizing the details and we'll get back to you to sign up soon, but we have to start spreading the word right now if Saturday is going to be huge.

Here's the call to action:

50-State Mobilization to Save the American Dream

We're helping lead an emergency call for rallies in every state capital this Saturday at noon to stand in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin. Clicking below will add your name to the call for action, then you can help get the word out:

Calling all students, teachers, union members, workers, patriots, public servants, unemployed folks, progressives, and people of conscience:

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich, and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response and vital human services. The right to organize is on the chopping block. The American Dream is slipping out of reach for more and more Americans, and we have to fight back.

We call for emergency rallies in front of every statehouse this Saturday at noon to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. Demand an end to the attacks on workers' rights and public services across the country. Demand investment, to create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. And demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share.

We are all Wisconsins!

We are all Americans!

Add your endorsement and this Saturday we will stand together to save the American Dream.

Clicking  HERE will add your name so you can start spreading the word: 

In addition to allies like PCCC, Color of Change, CREDO Action, Democracy for America, Campaign for Community Change, National People's Action, TrueMajority, US Action, Progressive Majority, and Courage Campaign, green jobs visionary Van Jones has joined this call to action as well. His inspiring words from The Huffington Post this morning are worth quoting:

"In the past 24 months, those of us who longed for positive change have gone from hope to heartbreak. But hope is returning to America—at last—thanks largely to the courageous stand of the heroes and heroines of Wisconsin.

Reinvigorated by the idealism and fighting spirit on display right now in America's heartland, the movement for "hope and change" has a rare, second chance. It can renew itself and become again a national force with which to be reckoned.

Over the next hours and days, all who love this country need to do everything possible to spread the "spirit of Madison" to all 50 states. This does not mean we need to occupy 50 state capitol buildings; things elsewhere are not yet that dire. But this weekend, the best of America should rally on the steps of every statehouse in the union."

Van's full piece is worth reading. To check it out and pass it on, Click Here.

Thanks for all you do.

–Daniel, Lenore, Joan, Justin, and the rest of the team

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NYC CLC, Leaders and Members to Rally on steps of City Hall In Support of WI Workers

NYC CLC, Leaders and Members to Rally on steps of City Hall In Support of WI Workers

On Wednesday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m. leaders of the NYC Central Labor Council (CLC) will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall hailing the public employees from Wisconsin and demonstrating solidarity with those union members who are facing an unprecedented attack on collective bargaining. In addition, union leaders in New York City will issue a warning to their membership that public employee unions are being demonized throughout the country.

Jack Ahern, president of the CLC will state, “There is not a single responsible labor leader in America who does not appreciate that we must all stand together in confronting this cynical attempt at union busting. That is why we must stand up with our Brothers and Sisters from Wisconsin and help galvanize the strongest union city in the country: New York.”

What: NYC Central Labor Council press conference to show solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin

When: Wednesday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m.

Where: Steps of New York City Hall, Broadway, 

For more information please call: (212) 604-9552

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cheesehead Rally NYC February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m at FOX News, 1211 6th Ave at 48th St

NYC Cheesehead Rally Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m at FOX News, 1211 6th Ave at 48th St

Cheesehead Rally NYC #2

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5 p.m., FOX News, 1211 6th Ave at 48th Street let's rally again in solidarity with Wisconsin workers against union-busting Gov. Scott Walker!

Last Friday in NYC - on just 24 hours notice - about 100 grassroots activists rallied in front of CNN, NBC, and FOX. We had a great time and got some great publicity

On Saturday, 70,000 activists protested against Gov. Walker in Madison, Wisconsin. The Tea Party mobilized a counter-protest to support Walker, but got a tiny turnout of just 2,000.

We beat them 35 to 1!
So we'll have a victory rally on Tuesday in front of the real Tea Party headquarters: FOX News at 6th Ave. and 48th St. We'll start at 5 p.m., exactly when Tea Party leader Glenn Beck goes on!

Beck insists the American people support him, but we'll show him the American people really support our teachers, firefighters, police - and our unions.

Make your own signs. Wear Packers gear (or just green/yellow) and cheesehead hats (we'll bring a few to share). Bring your smartphones and cameras to tell the world!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5pm


FOX News
1211 6th Ave
New York, NY 10036
Google Map and Directions 

RSVP at  

Robert R. Daraio
Recording Secretary
New York Broadcast Trades Council
914-774-2646 cell

Writers Guild Charges That Comcast Is Anti-Union

RBR-TVBR: Frustrated that Comcast hasn’t signed a deal with the Writers Guild of America – West (WGAW), even though Comcast writers voted overwhelmingly to unionize in December, WGAW has gone on the offensive.

“Despite what Comcast promised when it was under the microscope of federal merger hearings, it is now clear that they’re not interested in maintaining Hollywood’s union environment. What they’re interested in is the same kind of foot-dragging, strong-arm tactics and deceit they’ve deployed against every effort to unionize elsewhere,” said a statement from two directors of the union.

Comcast has not recognized the results of the union card sign-up and insists that the writers for its shows have to go through a more complicated process for union recognition.

The WGAW statement says Comcast is now part of the “club” of media conglomerates since its acquisition of NBC Universal and needs to accept its role in maintaining the Hollywood talent pool. Instead, the union accused it of trying to “freeload” off of what others have built.

“Comcast thinks it can pull a sleight of hand, labeling some of its writers ‘Comcast,’ and so non-union, when across the hall there is NBC. That may be the way they built the cable company with the worst customer satisfaction ratings in America, but we can’t let it be the way they behave here,” said WGAW directors Chip Johannessen and Patric M. Verrone.

New Jersey TV Station Is Accused of Failing Its Audience

By Brian Steltzer

WWOR-TV is the subject of an unusual investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which is looking into charges that the station’s owner, the News Corporation, misrepresented the station’s number of employees and amount of programming. The investigation is gaining attention in part because WWOR is a rarity: it is effectively the only big commercial station licensed to the state of New Jersey.

At issue are the obligations that television license owners have to the communities in which they operate. Just how many reporters and newscasts can a station remove before it fails to meet those obligations?

The investigation of WWOR implicitly asks that question. The station’s news division was already weak when, during the recession in 2009, it dismissed some employees and cut its nightly newscast to 30 minutes from one hour. The F.C.C.’s inquiry, announced on Thursday, was prompted by complaints from media activists who say that since the cutbacks, WWOR has overstated its coverage in filings to the F.C.C.

WWOR’s license has been in limbo for nearly four years. In a statement on Thursday, the News Corporation, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said it was confident that “upon review of all facts and applicable law, the F.C.C. will recognize that these unwarranted claims hold no merit.”

The station’s general manager and news director declined to be interviewed. In an e-mail, a station spokeswoman, Erica Keane, said: “WWOR-TV stands by its record of service to New Jersey.”

WWOR has a complex history in the state. The station, formerly known as WOR, was licensed to Manhattan until the mid-1980s, when the license was transferred to New Jersey. Much of New Jersey is wedged between two major media markets, New York City and Philadelphia, and politicians have long complained about a lack of local television coverage.

A citizens’ group for media reform, Voice For New Jersey, says the lack of broadcast coverage hampers accountability of public officials and reduces awareness about news in local communities. The state also has a news channel, News 12, that is available only to cable customers, and a public broadcaster, New Jersey Network, that is suffering from state budget cuts.

“We don’t have a reliable station within our midst,” said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, referring to commercial TV stations. Mr. Lautenberg, a longtime critic of WWOR, said the station’s executives had “failed to live up to their obligations.”

The license for WWOR was granted on condition that its owner pay special attention to northern New Jersey. The station does — but not sufficiently, critics say.

For its part, the News Corporation has said in filings that the condition was intended to ensure the station extend to all of northern New Jersey, not just Secaucus, where WWOR is based, and that WWOR’s obligations are “no different in kind or degree” from any other station’s. There is no general F.C.C. requirement that stations provide any newscasts at all.

WWOR broadcasts a Sunday public affairs program called “New Jersey Now.” But it has just one newscast a day, at 11 p.m., and shares resources with WNYW, the News Corporation’s Fox station in New York — even more since the budget cuts in 2009. The 11 p.m. co-anchor on WWOR, Harry Martin, doubles as the 6 p.m. anchor on WNYW, for instance.

One company’s ownership of two stations in a market is deemed a duopoly. The News Corporation has nine such duopolies in the United States. It also owns The New York Post. The News Corporation has a permanent waiver allowing it to own both WNYW and The Post; a temporary waiver allowing it to own both WWOR and The Post expired in 2008.

A thicket of legal claims have been piling up ever since Voice for New Jersey called on the F.C.C. to deny the News Corporation a license renewal for WWOR in 2007. According to the group, the News Corporation told the F.C.C. that it employed more than 250 people at the station in Secaucus, even after reducing the staff and shortening the nightly newscast. Intentionally giving the wrong information to the F.C.C. — or omitting important details — violates the commission’s rules. The News Corporation has 30 days to respond.

“This is a serious matter, which could result in severe sanctions,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the Media Access Project , a media reform group that has lobbied the F.C.C. on the matter. In the future, he said, “I hope that the focus is on service to northern New Jersey, and not on the events around their conduct.”

A version of this article appeared in print on February 21, 2011, on page B3 of the New York edition.
Broadcast Union News Note: The International Alliance Of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists And Allied Crafts Local 794 (IATSE Local 794) represents the broadcast engineers at FOX5 and WWOR. At the time Fox bought WWOR the combined IATSE 794 bargaining unit was about 140 staff engineers. Layoffs, buyouts, and retirements have reduced this number to 80. Management's stated goal is to eliminate as many union represented employees as possible and reduce the number of IATSE Local 794 engineers to less than 65 people to run both stations.

Asbestos Dangers in the Entertainment Industry

By Eric Stevenson

Asbestos, a thread-like mineral once prized for its ability to add heat resistance, strength, and durability to the materials it was combined with, was used throughout the mid-twentieth century in everything from construction materials to protective clothing to household appliances.

Of course, by the 1980s, it became widely known that this mineral could cause serious health problems, including symptoms of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen.

When the materials containing asbestos become worn or damaged, they release tiny fibers into the air where they can be breathed in and become lodged in the lungs or other body tissues.

While asbestos was most common in factories, as well as the construction and shipbuilding industries, it could be found wherever flammable materials or extreme temperatures were an issue.

This included theaters as well as television studios and film sets, since the hot lights and crowded indoor areas made fire a dangerous risk. The safety curtains required for theaters, after a series of fires in the early 1900s, contained large amounts of asbestos, as did the modeling clays and decorative plasters used to make props and sets.

Most famously, artificial snow used to be made primarily of asbestos, and can supposedly be seen in films like Holiday Inn and The Wizard of Oz. Additionally, since asbestos has excellent insulation properties, it could be found in many of the acoustical panels and finishes used in theaters and on sets.

Trade unions have been absolutely instrumental in protecting the safety of their workers once the dangers of asbestos were commonly known. These unions were also integral in getting compensation for those workers who had already become sick through the negligence of their employers.

Internal memos from as far back as the 1930s show that many employers knew of the dangers of asbestos long before their workers became aware of them and failed to provide proper protective equipment to their employees.

Mesothelioma life expectancy is tragically low – only around 10% five years after diagnosis – so those who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos in the course of their jobs should consult a doctor if they experience any lung-related symptoms. Asbestos is now widely recognized as one of the primary causes of occupational disease, and those in the broadcast and entertainment industries in the middle of the twentieth century were not safe from its dangers.

Broadcast Union News Note: If you work in an area in which you, or others, are tearing down old buildings or restoring them, you should know how you protect yourself from exposure to asbestos.

Today, you may not work with, or near, new materials that contain asbestos, but if you are involved in working with old buildings, like TV or film production studios, you risk being exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos is particularly dangerous when it is moved, so if you are involved in restoring old TV and film studios, you are at risk and need to take precautionary measures. This includes the correct gloves, clothing to protect your skin, eyewear and breathing masks. The less you expose your skin or lungs to the disrupted asbestos, the less your chances are of suffering from asbestos-related side effects.

If you work in or around an area with asbestos and your employer is not providing you with the correct protective gear, you need to report this to your union shop stewards immediately. This is for your safety and your co-workers' safety. Many people are involved in the demolition of old buildings, and many of these are infested with asbestos.

You can also report suspected Asbestos contamination to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at

You can call the Asbestos Ombudsman Hotline:

1-800-368-5888, 202-566-1970 (Washington, DC Area Local), 202-566-1505 (fax)

The assigned mission of the Asbestos Ombudsman is to provide to the public sector, including individual citizens and community services, information on handling, abatement, and management of asbestos in schools, the work place, and the home. Interpretation of the asbestos in schools requirements is provided. Publications to explain recent legislation are also available. Services are provided to private citizens, state agencies, local agencies, local public and private school systems, abatement contractors, and consultants.

Many TV and film studios are having asbestos removed, without stopping production. As crews begin to clean and remove the debris from remodeling spaces containing asbestos, the asbestos can be toxic not only to those who are removing the pieces, but to those people working in areas around the construction site. This is why it is vital that you are provided with the proper gear to protect you so that you are not exposed.

According to the  American Lung Association; Asbestos fibers can have serious effects on your health if inhaled. There is no known safe exposure to asbestos. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.

The amount of time between exposure to asbestos and the first signs of disease can be as much as 30 years. It is known that smokers exposed to asbestos have a much greater chance of developing lung cancer than just from smoking alone.

Asbestos can cause asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs that leads to breathing problems and heart failure. Workers who manufacture or use asbestos products and have high exposures to asbestos are often affected with asbestosis.

Inhalation of asbestos can also cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen lining. It may be linked to cancer of the stomach, intestines, and rectum, as well. (American Lung Association)

When working in areas where there is a risk of possible asbestos contamination, it can seem like a hassle to wear protective gear, but think about the alternatives. Many people today are living with cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses that have been linked to their exposure to asbestos.

If you have already been exposed and were not wearing the proper gear, you need to have yourself regularly screened for various diseases linked to asbestos. Catching these diseases early can help your quality of life and help you live a longer and healthier life.

For more information call the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).