Boycott of Channel 5 continues; union urges continued support of Channels 2, 11, 4
By ED FINKELSTEIN
The dispute between IBEW Local 4 and KSDK Channel 5 took a dramatic turn last month when the union peacefully reached a renewal agreement with KMOV-TV Channel 4 without having to destroy its jurisdiction as demanded by Channel 5, Local 4 Business Manager Mike Pendergast announced.
“It’s significant that Channel 4, which also has new management just as Channel 5 has, has not seen the need to try and destroy our union’s jurisdiction,” Pendergast said. “It allowed us to work out a new one-year contract that’s beneficial to both sides.”
Channel 4’s new management, Meredith Broadcasting, said the industry is changing – an issue the union understands and respects – and they needed some issues resolved, Pendergast said. “We worked with them, and found a mutually agreeable solution to those needs.”
In stark contrast, Channel 5’s new owner, the highly profitable Gannett Corp., has demanded the union give up its jurisdiction and allow the station to subcontract work to whomever they desire – jeopardizing all of Local 4’s members at the station. Local 4 members have been working under an expired contract since last year.
CHANNELS 2, 11 ALSO GOOD
The Channel 4 contract is the first renewal to come up since the Channel 5 dispute began.
Channels 2, KTVI and Channel 11, KPLR, both 100 percent union shops, will have their contracts come up next spring.
“We have good working relationships with the stations, both owned by The Tribune Co., and don’t expect them to want to turn the industry upside down like Gannett is trying to do, Pendergast said. “We’re confident that we’ll be able to successfully come to an agreement with both.”
Channels 2 and 11, like Channel 4, are quality stations and deserve the public’s continued support, he added, reminding everyone that the boycott of KSDK Channel 5 is still in full force.
To announce the new agreement with Channel 4, the union has posted a new billboard on I-170 at Page Ave., facing south.
The union’s “Turn off Channel 5” campaign has been highly successful. Local 4 has used billboards, social media, print and radio advertising to get its “Boycott 5” message to the public, and it’s having an impact. Formerly the number one station in St. Louis ratings, Channel 5 has now been outpaced by Channels 2 and 4.
The new one-year Channel 4 contract, retroactive to Oct. 1, calls for a two percent wage hike and modest increases in the pension plan. The union, which gave up wages in the past, similar to the concessions it made with Channel 5, says the improvements return the agreement to where it was three years ago.
“Workers everywhere have had to sacrifice, and our members have been willing to do their part,” Pendergast said.