Union Asks Advertisers to Boycott KSBY

Parties Meeting with Federal Mediator in August

The union that represents the technical employees at KSBY, the local NBC affiliate, is urging advertisers to boycott the station until the labor dispute between the television station and union members is settled.

This comes almost a month after union members voted down a provisional labor contract.

The Evening Post Publishing Company, which owns KSBY, has been negotiating a contract “in good faith” for six months with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NASBET), according to Evan Pappas, station president. The Evening Post Publishing Company purchased the station in 2004.

According to Pappas, union president Kevin Wilson agreed to the negotiated contract, but the union employees at KSBY rejected the offer. The contract included a close to 2 percent pay raise over four years, as well as training for a modified news model which will keep Internet and on-air coverage up to date at all times.

In a June press release, the NASBET Local 51 president, Kevin Wilson, said that the union workers “overwhelmingly” rejected the negotiated contract. Wilson noted that the union is asking for a 2 percent raise for three years, and a 2.5 percent increase in the fourth year.

Pappas insisted that many of the station’s advertisers seem unfazed by the urgings from NASBET. He says numerous advertisers have written him letters and phoned to say they will stand by KSBY. Wilson, on the other hand, said that advertisers have expressed support to the union and “will not advertise until there is a successful resolution.”

The union also worries that KSBY’s new news model will leave many technical workers behind. Under this model, according to Wilson, an employee hired to work on the Web site may end up producing what is seen on the nightly news. He expressed concern that current tech workers may not be able to learn such skills within the proposed training period, essentially “forcing them out.”

Wilson said the union hopes to hear from advertisers by August 1, or members will begin to “informationally leaflet”-passing out fliers in front of businesses that advertise with the station.

In April, the members voted to consent to strike if necessary. Pappas said he is confident that even in the case of a strike, the station is “completely prepared to keep news operations moving forward with quality.”

Both parties have agreed to meet with a federal mediator at the beginning of August to help resolve their differences.

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