By Don McIntosh
About 40 union-represented workers at KOIN 6-TV have been working without raises since their last union contract expired September 2017. On Jan. 8, they learned that station owner Nexstar Media Group — the largest owner of television stations in the United States — no longer recognizes their union.
According to workers, KOIN station manager Pat Nevin said in meetings that Nexstar will no longer provide information to The National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET) Local 51 or meet and negotiate with the union, and that workers don’t need to pay union dues any more, because the union no longer has the support of a majority of workers. Local 51 is an affiliate of Communications Workers of America (CWA).
That came as news to NABET-CWA staff representative Carrie Biggs-Adams. Biggs-Adams says the two sides last met to negotiate in December, and are scheduled to meet again Jan. 23-24 and Feb. 11-12. The union has filed several charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the course of bargaining, accusing the company of refusing to bargain in good faith, and refusing to provide information necessary for the union to bargain. The NLRB found merit to at least some of the allegations, and a hearing before a federal judge is set for March 3.
“It really is an anti-union escalation of the highest order,” Biggs-Adams told the Labor Press.
At KOIN, a Portland CBS affiliate, NABET represents news photographers, engineers, editors, assignment desk editors, directors, web producers, and commercial production workers.
Texas-based Nexstar owns 170 TV stations and is capable of reaching 69% of Americans. It bought KOIN in 2017.