Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Technicians Knock out TV Coverage

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Technicians Knock out TV Coverage

Article excerpt

HOUSTON -- ABC-TV technicians caused the cancellation of

third-round coverage of the Tour Championship yesterday when

they walked off the job in belated protest of the suspension of

a union member six months ago.

According to several members of the National Association of

Broadcast Employees and Technicians, who did not want to be

identified, the worker was suspended for two weeks for drawing

an unflattering caricature of one of his bosses. It was rumored

that the caricature was of Walt Disney chief executive officer

Michael Eisner.

Union officials have promised ABC they will return to work

today and the network said final-round coverage would air as

planned between 2-6 p.m. By contract, the union has the right to

stage 24-hour grievance strikes, but it has been working without

a contract since March. Negotiations were scheduled to begin in

two weeks.

"They could still strike again today," said Julie Hoover, ABC's

vice-president for corporate communications. "We don't believe

they will. This [the suspension of the employee] was just a

pretext for their action. It happened six months ago, and we

start negotiations in two weeks."

Hoover did not want to discuss the reason for the worker's

suspension, other than to say that the disciplinary action was

within the provisions of ABC's contract with the union.

"He didn't get fired, but it was a violation that called for a

suspension," Hoover said. "Six months ago, the union didn't say

a word about it."

"We're deeply disappointed that the ABC labor dispute has

occurred during the Tour Championship," said Henry Hughes, PGA

Tour vice-president of Championship Management, in a prepared

statement. "The action has had no impact on the operation of the

golf tournament and we have been assured that the scheduled ABC

broadcast will occur [today]. …

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