Broadcasting and radio are still alive and well, especially at the Entercom stations represented by SAG-AFTRA here in Philadelphia and across the country. One unique offshoot of Entercom, which two years ago bought nearly all of the CBS-owned radio stations around the country, is the Entercom-owned Traffic Weather and Information Network. The network, as its title suggests, provides mostly traffic reports to Entercom stations, including KYW Newsradio. SAG-AFTRA was instrumental in negotiating a single contract for 10 of its shops in cities around the country. This had never been done before, and we weren’t sure if it could be pulled off because every previously negotiated SAG-AFTRA radio and broadcast contract had been done on a single-station-at-a-time basis.
The multi-unit contract was originally negotiated with CBS in 2017, before the sale to Entercom. Considering how each market had and still has its unique regional issues, SAG-AFTRA negotiating teams managed to address those separate problems and come up with a solid, fundamentally uniform national contract that was successfully voted upon and delivered. With the successor clause language SAG-AFTRA negotiated into each contract, including the multi-unit traffic contract, the union’s contracts remained intact even after the Philadelphia Entercom Group wound up buying the CBS radio stations in 2018.
This takes us to February 2020, when the TWIN contract came up for its three-year renewal. I had the honor of being chosen as part of the multi-city negotiating team under the leadership of SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local Senior Program Manager, Broadcast Membership Services, Michele Dooley and our National Broadcast team Mary Cavallaro and Rich Larkin. I’m not going to lie and tell you that this was at all easy or something I’d want to do every day — and, believe me, they were long days — but the camaraderie was outstanding, even with the very professional Entercom team. What I can tell you is that the process of true negotiation was fascinating, grueling and stressful, but, in the end, fantastically satisfying. We were able to keep the fundamental pillars of the original contract intact with some modest gains and presented the rank-and-file with a contract we all overwhelmingly approved in March 2020.
I consider myself fortunate to have been a small part of just one of the dozens of functions our union provides for members. I hope everyone will see how your unique talent, perspective and involvement is what will keep SAG-AFTRA strong for years to come. We are the eyes and ears that made the union aware of new opportunities for previously little-recognized work in the digital world and insisted this work be covered now and in the future. We are also the eyes and ears on movie sets and in the broadcast studio to insist the integrity of our contracts is maintained and followed.
Keep involved and stay involved.
SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local President
KYW Newsradio Traffic Shop Steward
For the SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local 2020 spring newsletter.