17 unions urge viewer boycott of WBAL-TV

April 15, 1994|By John Woodruff | John Woodruff,Sun Staff Writer

At least 17 AFL-CIO unions in Baltimore will urge members to "turn off" WBAL-TV during the May "sweeps period" that determines the ratings that are critical to local stations' advertising revenues, the Writers Guild of America, East, said yesterday.

The union drive is in support of 21 employees who have been unable to obtain a contract at the station since the Writers Guild won the right to represent them in an election the National Labor Relations Board sanctioned 18 months ago.

"We have had at least 50 meetings with management since the vote, the latest on March 31, and they have put up a variety of proposals that deal with everything but the core of a labor contract," said Mona Mangan, Writers Guild East executive director, from her New York office.

"The station rejects all of the usual union security, job security and even wage provisions that are the core of any labor contract and instead insists on the right to set wages arbitrarily and to fire people essentially at will," she said.

Station officials referred all questions to Mary Jean Craig, a lawyer. Her secretary said she was in court, away from Baltimore yesterday, and by last night she had not returned a reporter's telephone call.

1% WBAL is owned by the Hearst Corp.

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