Sinclair Broadcast Group on Monday let it be known that its employees at a small television station in the Midwest has chosen to de-certify the Local IBEW Union.
In a blast via PR Newswire that found its way onto TV station websites, Reuters’ national feed and just about every American City Business Journals title’s online hub, the owner of radio and television properties revealed that on Feb. 2 its WTOV-9 in Steubenville, Ohio, received official notice from the National Labor Relations Board that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ” is no longer the exclusive representative of the employees in that bargaining unit.”
The notice results from actions that began in earnest on Dec. 29, 2016, when employees at WTOV, which also serves the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton, filed a petition with the NLRB to de-certify IBEW Local Union 246.
On Jan. 24, 2017, a secret ballot election was held.
Without comment from union representatives, Sinclair noted that “all employees who voted elected to no longer have representation by the IBEW.”
“Sinclair strives to be the employer of choice in each of our markets. The employees’ decision validates this,” WTOV GM Tim McCoy said in a statement. “We are proud of the recent enhancements to our benefits package for all of our employees, and believe this is reflected in their decision. Our employees are our most important asset and we value their dedication to the Ohio Valley community.”
WTOV is one of 173 television stations owned and/or operated by Sinclair.
IBEW Local 246 has 10 employees, 217 members and assets of $3 million, according to non-profit The Center for Union Facts.
When contacted by RBR + TVBR, a Local 246 representative declined to comment on the vote. However, he notes that the WTOV staffers who were union members comprise “a very small unit inherited from the Pittsburgh local unit” and called them “good people.”
WTOV is an NBC affiliate, with FOX programming running on its DT2 signal. While Steubenville and Weirton are less than an hour’s drive west of Pittsburgh, the Wheeling area is another 25 miles to the south of the WTOV studios.