Bernie, Martin and Hill get involved in union drive
DNC to remove union busting New Hampshire TV station as presidential debate sponsor
Employees at WMUR, one of the most influential television stations in New Hampshire politics, voted in February to join IBEW Local 1228. The employees are freelancers who help cover sporting events and joined other full time workers at the station who are members of the union.
During the course of the negotiations Local 1228 members allege that WMUR management and their parent company Hearst Corporation have threatened to take away the freelancers pensions as retribution for joining the union. After the threat was made, Local 1228 reached out to Presidential candidates to ask them to put pressure on WMUR to back off of their threat.
All three Democratic candidates issued statements supporting the workers. "With that in mind, today, we are calling on all Democratic candidates for President to cease advertising on WMUR Channel 9 and Hearst stations until management begins negotiations with employees. The O'Malley campaign is also asking WMUR Channel 9 to not air any previously taped #FITN primary coverage including, 'Candidate Cafe' or '10 Questions' on their station until management begins negotiations with employees. Finally, we are calling on the DNC and NHDP to host a conference call with representatives from each of the campaigns to discuss plans should WMUR be removed as a debate sponsor,” the O’Malley campaign said in a statement. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both also sent letters and Sanders sat down with the station manager to urge WMUR to reach an agreement with the workers. Local 1228 also threatened to put up a picket line at the debate, which would have forced labor friendly politicians to either cross the picket line or refuse to participate in the debate.
Now after the pressure from the candidates and the union, the Democratic National Committee has announced that they will remove WMUR as a sponsor from the upcoming presidential debate. “Regrettably, as a result of WMUR's unwillingness to move forward on scheduling negotiations between the Hearst Corporation and Production Department employees represented by IBEW Local 1228 prior to the debate, we will no longer include WMUR as a co-sponsor of the debate, and their talent will not be participating in any way," DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and NHDP chair Ray Buckley said. "The right for workers to form and organize a union is a key principle of the Democratic Party, and is key to ensuring the economic safety of the American people by protecting their rights and benefits."