July 12, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Portland, ORE – Workers at TV stations here and in Seattle are resisting what their union calls the “Uberization” of TV news.
The Tegna chain, a Gannett spinoff that owns 46 stations, wants to eliminate union jurisdiction over camera work at KGW, the NBC affiliate in Portland, and KING in Seattle.
Dave Twedell of IATSE Local 600, which represents camera operators and editors, believes the company is planning to use an app called Fresco that informs people about breaking news in the area and pays them $50 if any media outlet uses the video they shoot. IATSE has filed grievances and unfair labor practice charges against Fox stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco for using Fresco. “This is precisely the business model of amateur news that we are fighting,” Twedell says. “We have every reason to believe that Tegna intends to use a Fresco-like approach.” The dispute has stalled contract talks between the stations, Local 600, and IBEW Local 48, which represents control-room operators and technicians. At KGW, their last contract expired in February 2015, and Tegna’s June 28 “best offer” was for a three-year deal with a 3% raise. Read more