Thursday, September 17, 2015

Local News Crews Strike: Do they have any leverage?

When CBS3's unions overwhelming voted to join NBC10's strike prior to the upcoming Papal visit, most Philadelphians probably asked, "what's CBS?" 

Following in the footsteps of SEPTA's usual modus operandi, 65 photographers and technicians from NBC and 75 from CBS are leveraging Pope Francis's visit to negotiate the new terms of contracts that ended in July. Perhaps a smart move for a utility like SEPTA - which has been relatively cooperative - do the local affiliates at NBC and CBS really have that much leverage?

Yes, both news networks obviously want as much coverage on the ground as possible, but with such a wildly publicized event, won't they already have it? It's doubtful either network wants to be run through the ringer for hiring scabs, but when your parent companies are the press, they own the ringer.

In fact, if no negotiations are reached by the eleventh hour, MSNBC and CNBC will already have staff in the trenches and CBS could have, oh, I don't know, the CW? It's not as either network is going to completely bow out of this event, whatever the outcome. 

Either way, there will be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photographers and technicians funneling content and resources back to Philadelphia's local affiliates, with or without local staff. And as for any potential bad press: with all eyes on the Pope, is anyone paying attention to a local squabble and union rhetoric?

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