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KQED workers authorize strike

Workers at public broadcaster KQED have voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize their union to call a strike as negotiations over a new contract have become tense. One of the biggest issues on the table is whether the union can represent workers at San Jose’s KTEH and Monterey’s KCAH, according to the Mercury News. Last month the three public broadcasters merged to form a new parent organization called Northern California Public Broadcasting. According to the union’s bulletin board, a group of workers at non-union KTEH are seeking to be represented by the union and an election is planned.

“We have been working without a contract since Oct. 24 and have been faced with a management unwilling to adopt any urgency in our negotiations,” said Kevin Wilson, president of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA) Local 51, which represents KQED employees in technical and non-technical units. “The willingness of our members to authorize a strike demonstrates their frustration at the slow pace of talks,” he said.

The NABET bulletin board indicates that the last negotiating session was on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and no future negotiating dates have been set. “[W]e have been unable to agree on negotiating dates past today [Nov. 7] because the management continues to resist scheduling on a realistic basis,” the posting by the negotiating committee said. “Working without a contract inspires a sense of urgency on our side and ought to inspire a similar passion on the other side of the table. So far it hasn’t.”

The bulletin board also noted on Thursday, “The vote today was overwhelmingly in favor of giving this Committee authority to call a strike at KQED should it become necessary. It is important to remember that no strike is imminent and our intention is to avoid one if at all possible.”

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