Segment producers and writers for “Good Day New York,” the morning newscast on WNYW in New York City, have delivered a petition to station management protesting proposed pay cuts in contract negotiations between the Fox-owned station and the Writers Guild of America, East. The group has been working without a contract since last year.
Forty-one members signed the petition, which was emailed to Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy and CFO Betsy Swanson and delivered in person to WNYW assistant news director Emad Asghar.
The petition, obtained by TVSpy, asks that station management “return to the negotiating table and quickly come to terms on a fair contract”:
At this point the company shows no sign of coming off of a host of unreasonable positions, including big cuts to segment producer salaries, an unwillingness to increase pension contributions to secure our retirement security, meal period give backs, a reduction in night shift differential, and other concessions. Enough is enough.
Our last raise was in 2011. Inflation has increased significantly since then and the cost of living and working in New York City has increased even more. At the same time, the company has realized cost savings by shutting down the WWOR evening news program and then eliminating the WNYW investigative unit. Similarly, our productivity has increased as we have taken on new duties. Of course, the company is also saving money by keeping the contract open and avoiding pay increases. This appears to be a part of the plan, as no reasonable person would be likely to agree to the kinds of cut backs that remain on the table.
A station source tells TVSpy that the producers and writers have been offered a 6% pay increase over the next three years. The previous contract, which ran from 2008-12, was a 12% increase over four years.
“Good Day New York” has enjoyed recent success in the ratings: in March, the show beat the network morning shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today,” in the A25-54 demographic.
“We work hard for this company and we feel that the company’s recent successes are also our own; we take pride in the recent performance of Good Day New York and the continued success of the company’s other news programs. But the company’s idea of a reward for this work appears to be a shrinking standard of living and a less secure financial future for Writers Guild members,” the petition reads. “That’s not acceptable to us.”
A spokesperson for WNYW was not available for comment.