Union threatens NBC Christmas Tree lighting


The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) isn’t saying just what it has planned – but the union is upset about the lack of progress in contract negotiations with NBC and has vowed to “pull the plug” on Wednesday’s primetime 12th annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” telecast featuring the lighting of the giant Christmas Tree.

NABET-CWA Local 11 president Ed McEwan said the union is angry about stalled negotiations for a new contract. NABET-CWA’s prior contract expired in March, and there has been very little progress since talks began more than a year ago. In the meantime, management has grown increasingly hostile, ignoring the concerns of the union’s membership.

“We can’t let the Grinch at NBC steal another Christmas from thousands of honest working people. This charade must stop. Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network’s management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark,” said McEwan.

The union said its principal goal is to protect job security from the network’s attempts to dismantle how technical work is assigned, so that NBC’s employees who primarily perform those tasks are allowed in the bargaining unit.

“This would protect NBC’s flexibility by letting non-union employees do technical work, provided it doesn’t become their primary job,” said McEwan. “This is an enlightened way forward for both the company and the union. It provides job security for our members and flexibility for NBC as the TV industry continues to rapidly change,” he insisted.

The union has set up an NBCStoleChristmas.com website and is asking union members and supporters to text “Grinch” to a cell number to receive updates. The union said in a statement that it is “hoping that further contract negotiation dates can be set without a full strike during NBC’s Christmas tree lighting.”