IBEW Claims Sinclair ‘Aggressive’ in Vegas Union Decertification

By Kevin Eck 

A year after a group of news photographers at Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV voted to unionize, the union is no more. As we reported last week, employees of the Sinclair station voted out the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 45 and now we’re hearing from the union about why.

Elaine Ocasio, business manager for Local 45 told TVSpy a group of photographers “overwhelmingly” voted to join the Union, when the station was still owned by Intermountain West. The station and the union were progressing towards a contract, which Ocasio says included “substantial improvements to their working conditions as well as large wage increases.”

During the process, in Sept. 2014, Sinclair bought KSNV from Intermountain West for $120 million. That’s when everything changed, Ocasio says.

“During that time almost all of the original group was either fired or harassed into quitting,” she says. “By the time Sinclair took over there were only two of the original group left. Sinclair was aggressive in their promises to the group.”

Ocasio says the remaining members of the union filed for a decertification, but that there was no decertification election. “It was clear to us that the employees believed a union was no longer needed so we withdrew interest in the group.”

What we know is that a union member at the station filed a claim with NLRB over unfair labor practices, though not over the decertification. That claim was dismissed, but it is on appeal and being investigated by the board.

“I believe the union would have been the smart choice but I want members who understand the value of union membership and want to participate in having a voice in their workplace,” Ocasio says.

We reached out to Sinclair EVP and COO David Amy for comment, but have not heard back.