Contract-less Good Day New York Staff Petition Their Bosses

Negotiations for a new WGA East contract covering segment producers at WNYW Fox 5’s Good Day New York have been open for two years now. The previous Collective Bargaining Agreement ran from 2008 to May 2012.

This week, frustrated segment producers delivered a petition to management urging WNYW to resolve this situation. The petition, featuring 41 signatures, was emailed to Fox Local Station Group CEO Jack Abernethy and CFO Betsy Swanson, and personally handed to WNYW assistant news director Emad Asghar. Here’s how it, powerfully, begins:

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.

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. That’s not acceptable to us.

Meanwhile, given the whole Donald Sterling Los Angeles Clippers mess, an appearance this week on Good Day New York by Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena, bears mentioning. From a summary item by Good Day New York Web producer Kathy Carvajal:

Williams knew his daughters would grow up facing racism, so he used an unconventional method to prepare them.

In his new book, Black and White: The Way I See It, Williams recounts raising the girls to make their own decisions – even at a young age. “I would invite busloads of kids to come by and call them every name you could think of. I’d asked them, what do you think? We had a lot of acres of land, we had kids running around, asking questions, saying things, and they said different names and you would ask them, what do you think?” said Williams.