Union Threatens To Darken Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Over Negotiations With NBC

tree.jpgJust as Thanksgiving has the Macy’s Day Parade, so does Christmas in New York have its annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The event, scheduled for tomorrow, is a time where celebrities gather and NBC grabs ratings with its “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” tree lighting special.

This year, however, the threat looms large that there will be no lights, cameras or action as the network remains stalled in negotiations with the local chapter of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. The union claims that since its contract with NBC expired in March there has been very little progress in the talks and “management has grown increasingly hostile, ignoring the concerns of the union’s membership.”

Now the NABET-CWA is threatening to strike during the Christmas tree lighting unless network executives set dates for further negotiations. They have also set up a Web site, NBCStoleChristmas.com, where parties can read the union’s case against NBC.

We reached out to NBC for comment, but they have yet to return our emails.

Press release from the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Union, after the jump.

(Photo via)


Amid Stalled Negotiations and Increased Hostility, Union Launches Website To “Save Christmas,” Comparing NBC Management to “The Grinch”

NEW YORK, N.Y. — NBC’s failure to bargain fairly with the union that represents nearly 3,000 of the network’s producers, writers and technicians has put the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree at serious risk. In an attempt to save the annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special, the union launched a new website today — http://NBCStoleChristmas.com — that highlights the “Grinch” within NBC.

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) Local 11 president Ed McEwan said the union is angry about stalled negotiations for a new contract. NABET-CWA’s prior contract expired in March, and there has been very little progress since talks began more than a year ago. In the meantime, management has grown increasingly hostile, ignoring the concerns of the union’s membership.

“We can’t let the Grinch at NBC steal another Christmas from thousands of honest working people,” said McEwan. “This charade must stop. Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network’s management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark.”

Hoping that further contract negotiation dates can be set without a full strike during NBC’s Christmas tree lighting, the broadcast technicians are using online advertising and text messaging to promote their efforts. Updates on NABET-CWA’s campaign are available by texting “Grinch” to 228466 or by registering their cell phone numbers at the new website.

The union’s principal goal is to protect job security from the network’s attempts to dismantle how technical work is assigned, so that NBC’s employees who primarily perform those tasks are allowed in the bargaining unit.

“This would protect NBC’s flexibility by letting non-union employees do technical work, provided it doesn’t become their primary job,” said McEwan. “This is an enlightened way forward for both the company and the union. It provides job security for our members and flexibility for NBC as the TV industry continues to rapidly change.”

NBC’s bargaining team has totally disregarded the union’s attempt to move their relationship firmly into the 21st century, while continuing to press a disastrous seniority scheme that would allow management to protect a favored group of less-experienced employees from layoffs.