Remember what happened at the Gannett and Knight-Ridder-owned Detroit Free Press and Detroit News? The strike that nearly sunk the newspapers and gutted the newsrooms? Gannett’s subsequent purchase of the Free Press from Knight-Ridder?
Well, Gannett, has now brought that higher-profit-at-all-costs model to KSDK Channel 5, demanding the right to outsource the work of IBEW Local 4 members.
Local 4 represents broadcast television engineers. When you see TV news cameras on the street covering a story, the person behind the camera is a Local 4 member.
Local 4 is urging union members and the general public to boycott Channel 5 and to let KSDK’s management know that they will not stand for this blatant attempt to crush the union in an effort to squeeze even more profits from the once leading local news station.
“KSDK is the Detroit Free Press of television,” Local 4 Business Manager Mike Pendergast told delegates of the St. Louis Labor Council last week. “They (Gannett management) are very confident that kind of model can be applied here in St. Louis and then take it to Washington, D.C. and all across the country. This is Ground Zero for Gannett’s new model of television.”
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Local 4 members have already sacrificed for the station, agreeing to a 10 percent wage cut in 2009 for Gannet’s alleged fiscal crisis. They haven’t had a raise since then.
Gannett recently purchased Belo Broadcasting, which owned KMOV Channel 4, for more than $2 billion.
Now KSDK-Gannett insists further cost-cutting is needed in the form of outsourcing Local 4 member’s work.
THE UNION DIFFERENCE
Gannett is headquartered in Virginia, a right-to-work state. Maybe that’s why the company has set it sights on Local 4.
The newsrooms at Channels 2 and 4, which are 100 percent union, led the local ratings sweeps in February. Channel 2 led for the 5 p.m. broadcast, and Channel 4 led for 10 p.m.
“You don’t need to watch Channel 5,” Pendergast said, urging union members to take part in the boycott. “If you want a quality newsroom, Channel 4 and Channel 2 are the way to go.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Write, call or email KSDK Channel 5 Station Manager Marv Danielski and tell him you’ve switched stations and will not come back until a reasonable solution is negotiated. To reach Danielski:
- Call: (office) 314-444-5271 or better yet, his cell: 314-452-6471.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write: Marv Danielski, Station Manager, KSDK-TV, 1000 Market Street, St. Louis, MO, 63101.