SAG-AFTRA members at broadcast television stations WEEK and HOI News in East Peoria, Ill., are celebrating after SAG-AFTRA settled an unfair labor practice charge against Quincy Media, Inc., which operates both stations. The settlement will result in salary adjustments for two current employees and back pay awards for several current and former members.
The settlement also avoids a formal hearing on the unfair labor practice charge that was scheduled to be held at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) offices in Peoria on Tuesday.
“The fight for a living wage for all members at WEEK and HOI continues, but this settlement provides welcome financial help to several current and former member broadcasters who were underpaid by Quincy,” said SAG-AFTRA Chief Broadcast Officer Mary Cavallaro.
SAG-AFTRA member broadcasters at WEEK and HOI News have been working under an expired contract since March 31, 2016. Compensation has been a sticking point during negotiations for a new agreement. When Quincy took over the stations, health care costs for employees were increased substantially. In addition, the company is seeking to eliminate important overtime provisions that provide extra compensation for members who have been consistently working long hours due to short staffing.
“Looks can be deceiving,” said SAG-AFTRA station steward Garry Moore. “People think that the college-educated reporters they see smiling on television each day must be well paid, but that’s simply not true. We have reporters leaving the broadcast industry because wages are so low. We have had reporters making $10.94 an hour. That’s not a living wage.”
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and Quincy have been stalled for several months pending the final resolution of these three unfair labor practice charges filed by SAG-AFTRA in fall 2016. Two other charges were settled in February.