April 2, 2020
Is Sinclair Broadcasting Turning Its Back On Those Who Work For The Company?
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Charlie Cushing, Business Agent, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The global pandemic and related state of emergency have shuttered all professional sports leagues in the United States for the foreseeable future. This has created significant anxiety and hardship for people who have provided high quality production services during these sporting events for years. All of a sudden, these loyal workers have little or no income to support their families.
“We were looking at a full summer of work; having to go on unemployment was the furthest thing from my mind.” Charlie Cushing, Business Representative for IATSE Local 745 said. “The pandemic struck so fast. Suddenly, hundreds of broadcast sports technicians are unemployed.”
Showing great leadership and compassion, CBS, TURNER, FOX, Big Ten Network, NBC, and NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel have all committed to pay the standard compensation – through a minimum of April 12, 2020 and despite the absence of sporting events – to the production crews that have worked for the companies. Some of these companies have committed to pay the production crew members as far out as June 2020 regardless of whether the professional sports leagues have any games during that time.
“I have 100+ members that are now filing for unemployment and looking ahead fearful of how they are going to make their next health insurance payment.” Chris Tveitbakk, President IATSE Local 745 said.
Sinclair Broadcasting, doing business as Fox Regional Sports Network’s and Fox Sports North, however, has chosen not to make any such commitment. In contrast to its competitors, Sinclair insists on not paying its production crews even though Sinclair reportedly is still receiving revenues for the previously scheduled sporting events because Sinclair is evidently still enforcing its contracts related to cable-subscriber fees.
Contrary to the reported industry standard, Sinclair is merely offering a loan of $2,500 to its production crew members. In addition, only those who worked 60% of Sinclair events in the previous year will be eligible for that loan. A small loan that is not even available to all workers simply is not adequate to sustain loyal production crews and their families during a global pandemic and state of emergency that has no end in sight. Sinclair will also not be paying any health or other union benefits to any crew during this time.
“A $2500 loan doesn’t go far enough to make an impactful difference for our members during an extreme time of need.” Teresa Day, Treasurer, IATSE Local 745 said.