Labor pains, hunger pangs4/02/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Univision Television Group filed two legal actions against the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) Local 51 last week, contending that the union was negotiating in bad faith and had unlawfully interfered with the broadcasting activities of Univision' s KFTV(TV) Fresno. In a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, Univision accuses the union of being "dilatory [intentionally delaying] and unprepared for scheduled bargaining sessions," and said it "left scheduled bargaining sessions in order to conduct media interviews, and made numerous misrepresentations." Univision also asked the Fresno County Superior Court for an injunction against NABET's alleged harassing and stalking kftv employees and becoming a "public nuisance."
Earlier last week, NABET workers overwhelmingly rejected another contract offer from Univision management. Where the workers had rejected the previous offer unanimously a week before, this time there was one vote for ratification. The vote followed three days of negotiations, and NABET acknowledged that the offer, which includes $1,000 signing bonuses, was an improvement over previous offers. NABET said job security remains an issue, as well as overall compensation.
Meanwhile, the hunger strike nears its 40th day, with reporter Reina Cardenas and master control operator Martin Castellano joined since the beginning by union negotiator Carrie Biggs-Adams. Two more activists, one from the local hotel employees union and another from the Committee of the Poor, have begun fasting in sympathy, according to NABET. Fermin Chavez, who dropped out on medical advice after three weeks, took a medical leave from the station late last month, the union said. More negotiations were scheduled for week's end.