WCAU Photogs Walk Out 2 Days Before Pope’s Visit

By Kevin Eck 

Camera operators and photographers for NBC-owned station WCAU walked off the job last night, two days before the Pope visits Philadelphia.

“While it is unfortunate that IBEW Local 98 has decided to engage in a job action, we remain committed to ensuring this has no impact on our broadcast,” read a statement from WCAU. “Our viewers will continue to have full access to all of our local news and information without interruption. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieve a mutual resolution of our outstanding issues with the union.”

The union says its all NBC’s fault. NBC wouldn’t comment.

“At the behest of upper management at Comcast, IBEW Local 98 stayed at the negotiating table for more than a year after our contract expired,” said James Foy, IBEW Local 98’s business manager. “Then, a new NBC management team from New York City came in, after the completion of the NBC Universal deal. They let one final piece of the new contract that would have provided employment for only one or two union members – at no cost to them – destroy the other 95 percent of the already agreed-upon terms and a year’s worth of negotiations. And, incredibly, they did this on the eve of the pope’s visit, an event that Local 98, Comcast and so many others have worked so hard to make a success.”

WCAU is planning live reports of the Pope’s visit as he “makes his way around the City” on Saturday.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said IBEW Local 98 wouldn’t say how many of its members went on strike. The union is using twitter hashtag #FamiliesFirstAtNBC10 for updates on the strike.