WFSB Hit with NLRB Complaint

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Meredith Broadcasting Corp.'s WFSB-TV Hartford, Conn., for unfair labor practices regarding its treatment of news-department employees.

The move consolidates four separate complaints lodged by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 27 in Hartford.

WFSB-TV has until July 14 to respond to the consolidated complaint, but WFSB GM Elden Hale, VP, GM of the station, called it “baseless” and a “rehashing” of old issues.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained from AFTRA, The NLRB alleges that WFSB-TV has been "interfering with, restraining and coercing employees...discriminating in regard to hire or tenure terms and conditions of employment..and refusing to bargain collectively in good faith" with the groups it has recognized as collective bargaining agents for its employees, all violations of labor laws.

The complaint includes allegations that the company threatened, then terminated, vacation relief reporter/anchor Todd Kazakiewich over a Union grievance filed on his behalf over wages and fees denied him. Although Kazakiewich figures prominently in the complaint, AFTRA says there were others denied the same compensation.

Last September, WFSB-TV anchors and reporters staged an AFTRA-led "black-out," wearing black and dark clothing on-camera to protest stalled contract negotiations.
"We would still prefer to resolve the issues before the hearing, " says AFTRA new England Broadcast Director Tom Higgins of the complaint, "but we are prepared to go to trial."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.