Oregon AFL-CIO won't talk to reporters from ABC

SALEM - Officers and staff of the Oregon AFL-CIO will not talk to reporters from the ABC-affiliated television stations in Oregon - KATU Channel 2 in Portland and KEZI Channel 9 in Eugene - because nationally, Disney-owned ABC has locked out its technicians and other off-camera personnel.

The ABC camerapersons, writers, producers, and technicians are represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET), an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America. On-air and off-air employees at local affiliates KATU and Channel 9 are not union members.

On-air personalities at Channel 2 decertified from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in the 1980s.

"We will not talk to reporters from these stations and we encourage affiliates to do the same," said Irv Fletcher, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

NABET has been trying to negotiate a contract with ABC since the old one expired in March 1997. The union called a one-day walkout Nov. 2 to goad management back to good-faith bargaining, but the company reacted by hiring scab crews and locking out the NABET members. ABC also ended health insurance coverage for the locked-out workers and their families.

Since the lockout, many newsmakers and public officials have refused to talk to ABC, including Vice President Al Gore and California Governor-elect Gray Davis. Entertainer Adam Sandler, star of the new movie Waterboy, refused to appear on ABC to promote it. Singing great Tony Bennett rejected a scheduled appearance after management ordered the lockout, and on Dec. 8, National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter declined to appear on Nightline to discuss the NBA owners' lockout of their players.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service was able to get both parties back to the table and negotiations are continuing.

January 1, 1999 issue

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