WMUR Union Members Get Help From Presidential Candidate

By Kevin Eck 

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stopped by Manchester, N.H. ABC affiliate WMUR Friday for a taping and was met by employees looking for their first union contract with the station.

The directors and production employees represented by IBEW knew he was coming and, with the support of other unions, asked Sanders to speak with station gm Jeff Bartlett to get parent company Hearst and IBEW back to the bargaining table after not talking for about a month. Sanders is scheduled to appear in the Democratic presidential debate sponsored by WMUR on Dec. 19.

According to NH Labor News, “The Station is demanding these 22 workers lose their pension simply because they formed a union.”


“Senator Sanders was very helpful and we are grateful,” said IBEW 1228 business agent Fletcher Fischer. ”Bartlett is now open to negotiating all of our issues. We have provided him multiple dates within the next two weeks and now we are just waiting for the Hearst Corporation to meet with us.”

IBEW told TVSpy it’s in discussions with the Democratic National Committee and ABC to get WMUR’s debate sponsorship pulled if it doesn’t play ball with this new unit. WMUR already has two units represented by IBEW, the photographers are in one and the master control ops and techs are in another.

“We have successfully negotiated numerous contracts with the two other bargaining units at WMUR represented by this very same local,” WMUR president and gm Jeff Bartlett told TVSpy. “We have been actively negotiating in good faith on this current contract and have reached agreement on a wide number and range of proposals, and we are continuing to negotiate.”

Sanders expressed an interest in the negotiations in early November. He sent Bartlett a letter that read in part, “The right to form a union is an important part of this country’s democratic process and something I strongly support. I sincerely hope that you will be able to reach a fair an equitable settlement with your workers before the debate you are sponsoring on December 19, 2015.”