Philly-based technicians at NBC, Telemundo threaten to go on strike

Broadcast engineers working in studio

Broadcast engineers working in studio ThisisEngineering RAEng

Technicians at NBC10 and Telemundo62 have voted unanimously to authorize a strike as they continue to seek a new contract from the two Philadelphia-based stations before their current agreement expires on June 30. 

The group of photojournalists, technicians and engineers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and have been negotiating for a new contract over the past few weeks. The vote, which occurred last Thursday, does not mean the technicians are guaranteed to strike, but gives members flexibility if they believe a strike is needed. 

Charlie Murphy, a special projects coordinator for IBEW Local 98, criticized Comcast, who owns the two stations, for wanting to utilize cheaper labor. 

“These hardworking men and women give their expertise and creativity to NBC10 and Telemundo62 around the clock, every day of the year, yet all the employer wants to do is grab their work and give it to someone who'll do it cheaper and less professionally,” Murphy said in a statement. “This is a continuing problem with Comcast. Their TV operations are the worst arm of the corporation." 

IBEW Local 98 consists of more than 4,700 members and advocates for proper licensing, wages and safety measures on behalf of the electrical workers. 

When asked about the vote and a potential strike’s impact on the stations, an NBC10 station spokesperson released the following statement: “We value all of our employees. We will continue to negotiate with IBEW Local 98 in good faith and look forward to reaching a mutually-acceptable agreement with the union.”

Murphy, alongside Local 98’s business agent, Robert Boland, are negotiating their third contract with the technicians. Previous negotiations have led to similar votes to authorize strikes, but it's unclear whether this will result in a work stoppage that disrupts the stations’ operations.