WKBW workers picket at rally

[Photo above from a earlier rally, not today!]

I was driving on Transit Road in Amherst today and saw a sign that just caught my eye. There was a website URL on it that read “7newsunfair.com” and I wondered what it meant. I went by it so quickly that I didn’t see what the sign was referring to or if there were any people around with it. Traffic was busy enough that I just couldn’t rubberneck any more, so I remembered it for later.

So I checked it out and found a story you won’t see on Eyewitness News.

7 News Unfair LogoThe Union-represented employees at WKBW-TV have been working without a contract agreement for several months. I had heard nothing about it. I don’t often watch that station. Not because of the contract issue, but because it just doesn’t seem to have what I want to see.

I will admit that I prefer Channel 4’s news (WBEN) with Channel 2 (WGRZ) a close second. With all the 5pm and 10pm extra news, I often catch one or the other at some time every day.

But why does this interest me? There are a couple reasons:

  1. I am a Union member and believe in the union principles of solidarity and fair bargaining.
  2. I once pursued a career in TV Engineering and had applied and even interviewed at all of the Buffalo TV stations. It was at a time when I was laid off from my job in the auto industry and was looking for something different to do. With a background in electronic communication through my involvement in Ham Radio, it was a natural.
  3. I knew several people working in the broadcast industry back then, again through my interest in electronics and Ham Radio.

So anyway, I’m glad I checked it out. Their web site at 7newsunfair.com
is full of information about the dispute and has a number of links to other articles about the issue. Please read about it and decide how you can help. As I said, I don’t often watch that channel anyway, so joining a boycott will be easy for me.

But I do remember WKBW fondly, so it’s sad to see it undergoing such turmoil. One of the people who I knew in the industry long ago, worked there and was very kind to get tours for me and some of my friends through the old studio on Main Street (Such history there, both for the radio and TV stations.) and even the transmitter facility in the hills south of Buffalo. I was surprised to find out he was working at Channel 2 some years later when I was job-hunting. I asked why and the explanation was Channel 2 was a non-union shop and that things at Channel 7 were getting ugly even back then in the 80’s.