Union rallies at Channel 5 demanding a new contract
By TIM ROWDEN
IBEW Local 4 is calling for a boycott of KSDK Channel 5 as contract talks with Tegna-KSDK drag on. Local 4 members rallied at 11th and Market streets across from Channel 5 on Feb. 1 demanding a fair contract.
Local 4 represents St. Louis television and radio workers. Its contract with owner Tegna Media expired Jan. 31 and, with talks making little progress, Local 4 members voted to authorize a strike, which was recently approved by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Two additional bargaining sessions are scheduled for Feb. 22 and 24, and Local 4 is calling for a boycott of the station until a fair agreement is reached.
Local 4 Business Manager Mike Pendergast said the union made considerable concessions in its last contract to give the station “jurisdictional flexibility.” However, Tegna-KSDK failed to live up to its own concession not to use that flexibility to result in diminution (shrinking) of the bargaining unit.
That diminution has come to pass over the duration of the recently expired contract, with the loss of seven positions previously in the jurisdiction of Local 4.
Not only has the station failed to honor the agreements it made in return for the union’s flexibility, but Pendergast also said it is now insisting the union concede all work jurisdiction .
“There are some real basic issues at play here,” Pendergast said. “In the last contract, we made considerable concessions in the area of jurisdiction and gave them jurisdictional flexibility. But the company didn’t honor their concessions to us in the area. We already feel we’ve gotten hosed. Now they want complete jurisdictional flexibility. We would have no claims to work. If they had an event at Chaffetz, they could just call anybody else they want. They could hire Joe Schmo or whatever to do the work.”
Tegna-KSDK is also proposing to degrade some the work conditions Local 4 members enjoy, including eliminating daily overtime.
“Currently if somebody works 12 hours in a day, they get overtime,” Pendergast said. “Tegna-KSDK wants to change that so if someone works a 12-hour day, they will only get to work four hours on the following day, with no overtime.”
Local 4 has placed a billboard on eastbound Interstate 64, near the Armory building in St. Louis, asking viewers to turn off Channel 5 and boycott the station until a fair contract is reached.