IBEW Local 1228 calls on Democratic Presidential candidates to remove WMUR from December 19 Presidential Debate if contract isn’t settled by December 14
Station went back on their word about negotiating before debate
Manchester, NH – IBEW Local 1228 is calling on Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders to tell Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to terminate WMUR’s sponsorship and any participation by the station in the Saturday, December 19 Democratic Presidential debate if a contract for the Production Department isn’t reached by Monday, December 14.
WMUR is owned by the Hearst Corporation. WMUR/Hearst is refusing to allow Production Department employees to continue contributing to their Hearst Union Pension Plan just because they formed a union.
On Friday, December 4, Local 1228 held an informational picket line at WMUR. Bernie Sanders spoke with the workers, and it was agreed that he should cross the line so he could deliver a message of support to WMUR Station Manager Jeff Bartlett for the bargaining unit workers. Up until then, WMUR/Hearst had refused to negotiate until after the debate, but Sanders got Bartlett to agree to bargain before December 19. Sanders came back to the picket line to deliver Bartlett’s message agreeing to negotiate.
Local 1228 Business Manager Fletcher Fischer called Bartlett immediately and offered to negotiate any day or time of WMUR/Hearst’s choosing. WMUR/Hearst’s attorney subsequently notified Fischer that there would be no negotiations until after the debate. (emphasis added)
Also on Friday, DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz spoke to WMUR. She was told that the union, not WMUR/Hearst was refusing to negotiate before the debate.
“I find it unbelievable that WMUR/Hearst lied to Debbie Wasserman Schultz about our willingness to settle this contract since they have little or no regard for workers who just want to keep the pension they already have”, Fischer said. “WMUR/Hearst has negotiated similar deals around workers’ pensions with Local 1228 at other stations, and we expect them to take care of loyal employees.”