NBC's Failure to Negotiate With Employees Puts 'Christmas In Rockefeller Center' at Serious Risk

Dec 01, 2009, 17:29 ET from National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) Local 11

Amid Stalled Negotiations and Increased Hostility, Union Launches Website To "Save Christmas," Comparing NBC Management to "The Grinch"

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NBC's failure to bargain fairly with the union that represents nearly 3,000 of the network's producers, writers and technicians has put the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree at serious risk. In an attempt to save the annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" special, the union launched a new website today - http://NBCStoleChristmas.com - that highlights the "Grinch" within NBC.

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) Local 11 president Ed McEwan said the union is angry about stalled negotiations for a new contract. NABET-CWA's prior contract expired in March, and there has been very little progress since talks began more than a year ago. In the meantime, management has grown increasingly hostile, ignoring the concerns of the union's membership.

"We can't let the Grinch at NBC steal another Christmas from thousands of honest working people," said McEwan. "This charade must stop. Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network's management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark."

Hoping that further contract negotiation dates can be set without a full strike during NBC's Christmas tree lighting, the broadcast technicians are using online advertising and text messaging to promote their efforts. Updates on NABET-CWA's campaign are available by texting "Grinch" to 228466 or by registering their cell phone numbers at the new website.

The union's principal goal is to protect job security from the network's attempts to dismantle how technical work is assigned, so that NBC's employees who primarily perform those tasks are allowed in the bargaining unit.

"This would protect NBC's flexibility by letting non-union employees do technical work, provided it doesn't become their primary job," said McEwan. "This is an enlightened way forward for both the company and the union. It provides job security for our members and flexibility for NBC as the TV industry continues to rapidly change."

NBC's bargaining team has totally disregarded the union's attempt to move their relationship firmly into the 21st century, while continuing to press a disastrous seniority scheme that would allow management to protect a favored group of less-experienced employees from layoffs.

Jane Krakowski, of '30 Rock,' and Zachary Levi, of 'Chuck,' are scheduled to co-host NBC's 12th annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast, which is in jeopardy, on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The celebration is scheduled to feature Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, Shakira, The Roots and The Radio City Rockettes, according to the network's website.


--NABET-CWA action website - http://NBCStoleChristmas.com

--NABET-CWA text message updates - Text "Grinch" to 228466

SOURCE National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) Local 11