NLRB sides with guild in dispute over TV work p. 12

By: Mark Fitzgerald DETROIT'S REGIONAL National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has sided with the Newspaper Guild in the union's dispute with the Detroit News over members' appearances on a local television news shows.
In a complaint and notice of hearing filed Jan. 20, the NLRB for the 7th Region declared News management had not bargained in good faith with the Guild Local 22 over the terms and conditions under which newsroom employees would appear on news shows on WKBD-TV, Channel 50.
Further, the NLRB said, the News committed an unfair labor practice when editor and publisher Robert Giles issued an order that appearance on the shows would be mandatory.
Since Nov. 7, News reporters and editors have appeared regularly on nightly WKBD news shows to talk about stories that will be featured in the next day's newspaper.
Giles says the newspaper tried to bargain with the Guild about the arrangement, but the union dragged the talks on without coming to a conclusion.
Finally, Giles said in December, he posted a memo exercising what he said was his right to order Guild-affiliated journalists to appear on the programs (E&P, Dec. 24, 1994, p. 9).
Guild adminstrative officer Don Kummer, however, said it was management who had dragged out the issue.
"The [NLRB] saw through the whole thing," Kummer said. "They saw there was, in effect, no bargaining, that the company came in with a preconceived notion and that when they implemented [the mandatory policy], they didn't implement their final offer."
In addition to wanting to bargain about pay for television appearances, the Guild is concerned that the News arrangement with Channel 50 might jeopardize freelance appearances that reporters have with other electronic media, Kummer said.
Editor and publisher Giles, however, said those freelance arrangements are specifically protected in the paper's contract with WKBD.
As for the NLRB complaint, Giles said, "It doesn't change anything. We're going to litigate it. We think the charge is inaccurate."
The NLRB set a hearing date of May 15.


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