Overwhelming Majority Of Workers At Fox25 Vote To Join Ibew, Local 1228
Early Wednesday morning, more than 70 percent of the 100 production and technical workers at Boston’s FOX25 (WFXT) television station overwhelmingly voted to join Local 1228, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Local 1228 is one of the largest unions in New England representing workers in the broadcast industry, and has been a client of Sandulli Grace since the firm was founded by Joe Sandulli over thirty years ago. Local 1228 represents workers at television and radio stations throughout New England, and has long represented technical and production workers at WBZ (CBS), WCVB (ABC) and WHDH (NBC) in Boston. With the addition of FOX25, Local 1228 now represents employees at all 4 Boston network affiliates.
In early March, Local 1228 petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to confirm that a majority of technical employees at FOX25 wanted a union. Once the station learned of the worker’s intent to unionize, it engaged in a campaign against unionization through memos, staff meetings, and one-on-one sessions. To the station’s credit, while it urged workers not to unionize, it did not appear to engage in any illegal efforts to suppress the workers’ rights. Despite the station’s efforts, the workers remained united in their desire to join together. In addition, Local 1228 and the workers remained in constant contact, quickly responding to any anti-union memos with the facts about the benefits of unionization.
After agreeing with Local 1228 and Fox on the job titles and employees who get to vote, the NLRB scheduled the election for April 8. The bargaining unit is comprised of exactly 100 employees, including engineers, master control operators, editors, tape coordinators, photographers, van technicians, production technicians, Chyron operators, audio engineers, studio camera operators, jib and robotic camera operators, studio technicians, technical directors and directors. In order to ensure that all employees had a chance to vote, the NLRB conducted four separate voting periods, and the election actually extended into April 9, with the final voting period ending at 12:15 a.m. Stunningly, 97 of the 100 eligible voters cast a ballot.
After the close of voting at 12:15 a.m., Wednesday, April 9, representatives of Local 1228, FOX25 management, and about 20 excited FOX25 workers gathered in the “old studio,” where the vote was held, to watch an NLRB agent count the ballots. The excitement in the room was electrifying as the pile of “Yes” votes quickly grew. The final vote count was 70 votes for Local 1228 and only 27 votes for no union, a greater than 2-1 margin of victory! Unless Fox files objections to the election, the NLRB will certify Local 1228 as the democratically-elected collective bargaining representative of workers at FOX25.
Now that the employees at FOX25 have come together and gained a voice in their workplace, the real work begins. Local 1228 will work closely with its new members to develop proposals for an initial collective bargaining agreement. During the campaign, FOX25 committed that it would bargain in good faith with the union if the workers voted to unionize. Local 1228 is excited to begin the process of improving the working conditions of its newest members and to bring them in line with other Local 1228 members. And we here at Sandulli Grace remain honored to with work Local 1228, and are ready to assist the Local and its members as they move forward at FOX25 and beyond.