The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has asked NBC to recognize the American
Federation of Television & Radio Artists as negotiator for on-air employees
of newly acquired Telemundo Communications Group Inc. station WSNS(TV) Chicago without a secret-ballot
election, based on past support voiced for the union.
In a letter to NBC Stations president Jay Ireland, the Caucus cited a
petition signed earlier this year by all nine on-air station employees and said:
"We ask that you refrain from obstructing and instead respect their efforts" and
that there is "no need to have to reiterate this decision by means of a secret-ballot election. These employees rightfully believe that they should be
automatically allowed to enter the union, as would be the practice for your
English-language on-air talent at your other stations."
NBC, which now has a duopoly in Chicago with English-language station
WMAQ-TV, denies any obstruction and has said the issue of holding a secret
ballot was simply one of due process and an opportunity to state its case.
Ireland and AFTRA officials met separately with Caucus members last month and
AFTRA believes its presentation prompted the latter from the Caucus to Ireland.
If AFTRA gains representation at WSNS, it would likely try to close the
disparity that exists in Chicago and other markets between salaries of
English-language and Spanish-language on-air talent -- a gap management said is
related to station revenue, and not ethnicity.
NBC has responded to the Caucus' letter, and it will make the response public