IBEW Local 4 boycott of Channel 5 successfully ends with new contract


Unique settlement meets station’s future technology needs while protecting rights of employees.

AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING campaign by IBEW Local 4 using billboards like this, along with TV, radio, newspaper and online “Turn Off Channel 5” advertising, drove the station’s ratings down dramatically. The billboards rotated on all the major highways in the bi-state region. They are now down as a result of a new agreement accepted last week by Local 4’s members.

The 18-month boycott of KSDK-TV by IBEW Local 4 ended Jan. 25 with the ratification of a new three-year contract, Local 4 Business Manager Mike Pendergast said.

Local 4’s technicians voted to support the unanimous recommendation of the union’s Bargaining Committee and ratified an agreement that is unique in the industry – one that has wage increases consistent with industry standards that also recognizes the inevitable technological changes coming to the industry.

Local 4 represents broadcast television engineers, photographers, editors and broadcast maintenance engineers. When you see TV news cameras on the street covering a story, the person behind the camera is a Local 4 member.

“We recognize that technology is changing at a rapid pace in our industry,” Pendergast said, “After more than 18 serious bargaining sessions over the past 18 months, both sides found areas of compromise that created a fair and equitable solution balancing the introduction of new technology with the human equation, recognizing the value of our members to the station’s success.”

Without going into detail, Pendergast said the approach to the technology issue is unique in the broadcast industry.

“I complement our bargaining committee and our members for their willingness to ensure the public has the best broadcasting experience based on new technologies to come and at the same time ensuring the people who run that technology are treated fairly.”

The union’s contract expired July 15, 2018. When it became clear that early negotiations were one-sided, Local 4 launched a massive $130,000-plus public information campaign asking the public to “Turn off KSDK, Channel 5” until the contact was resolved.

And the public responded. As negotiations dragged on over 18 months, Channel 5’s ratings dropped dramatically.

The union used a combination of highway billboards, newspaper ads, stories in the Labor Tribune, radio ads and social media to get its message out.

“We want to thank, first and foremost, our union brothers and sisters for their outstanding support,” Pendergast stressed. “Their resistance to Channel 5 was the heart of the public’s response, which beyond the Labor Movement was incredible. It clearly shows that solidarity and unity of purpose works.”




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