9/26/2005 Company Letter to Members
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Dues checkoff discontinued -- Staff Representative, Local President blamed for misleading members. 


Dear [Bargaining Unit Member]:


I would like to bring you up to date on the status of contract negotiations. In the last negotiation meeting Mr. Murray indicated that the Union did not desire a further contract extension and that he would call Joe Rosemarino with dates for further negotiation. Joe has yet to hear from him and it has been over a week since the meeting.


Since the contract has expired, the station will no longer enforce the provisions of section 2.1 of the expired agreement. Union dues will no longer be deducted from your paycheck until a new agreement is reached. Employees are not obligated to pay union dues as a condition of employment.


It appears that Mr. Murray does not feel that reaching an agreement within a reasonable amount of time is important. However, the company takes these negotiations very seriously and has sent him a letter stating that if he does not call to set up a meeting before October 1st the company reserves right to implement our last proposals discussed in bargaining.


Why is it necessary for this station to reduce its labor costs? The broadcast television world is changing very rapidly. The relationship between networks and local television stations is dissolving. Stations are no longer being compensated from the network for carrying network programming. In fact Stations are now subsidizing the networks by paying for programming. Today we have increased competition and broadcasters have lost viewers to these competitors. In 1995, 27 percent of people in the market watched the 11pm news on the three stations. As of May 05, that number had fallen to 16 percent of the homes. Our share of the viewing and revenue has fallen accordingly. The revenue that the three stations now get is about the same as it was in 1997. News channel 9, Time Warner cable, FOX, The WB, and even UPN all take money out of the market. New media, such as the Internet, are also taking an increasing share of national spot television.


Broadcast television is getting it from all sides and we are not the only media service under attack. Newspapers have been struggling too. Just this week one of the most revered newspaper companies in the country, The New York Times Co., announced it was cuffing 500 jobs or 4% of its work force after it had cut 200 jobs earlier in the year.


Last week the Tribune station in Philadelphia eliminated its news operations and is outsourcing its newscast to the NBC station in the market. Last month WUHE in Rochester was merged with WROC in a joint sales and services agreement. Two months ago WFFF agreed to merge with WVNY in Burlington-Plattsburg. This is just the beginning. Hearst-Argyle, a major station owner, has purchased satellite transponders to set up a network for central news and master control functions. Stations around the country are going to one-man bands. Look at what is happening at Young.


We need to respond to the changes by making adjustments in how we operate. That includes how people are paid and do their jobs. We have no choice and the pain is being spread across all areas. The company is trying to do this as humanly as possible including how changes in the pension program are being handled and the proposed buy-outs.


It is sad that you are being misled by an individual from another television station and the union. What is their vested interest in this negotiation? The individual from the other station gets to knock off a competitor and use you to try and improve his position at the next WNYT negotiation. At no threat of losing his job or having to put up with a strike. The union is stretching out the negotiations telling you that by trashing the station in public we will be more agreeable. We have no choice; we have to make these changes. In the end we all must make sacrifices to ensure the success of this station. The attempts to injure the station by these two individuals only hurt all employees.




General Manager Furlong Signature