DMA 116

Outsourcing Worries Peoria TV Employees

Employees at WEEK and WHOI say they are prepared to strike over negotiations with the stations' owner, Granite Broadcasting Corp. Employees say Granite's push to be able to "hire out" its news coverage of the Peoria area could mean that the city will eventually be covered from Fort Wayne, Ind.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Employees at two Peoria TV stations worry their employer wants to outsource local news coverage after the stations pushed during contract negotiations for the right to use people outside the area to gather and broadcast the news.

Employees at WEEK-TV and WHOI-TV say they are prepared to strike over negotiations with the stations’ owner, Granite Broadcasting Corp.

“We understand the economic climate. This is not about money,” WEEK anchor Mike Dimmick told the Journal Star newspaper in Peoria.

Employees say the push to be able to “hire out” its news coverage of the Peoria area could mean that the city will eventually be covered from Fort Wayne, Ind. Granite has a control room there that serves a number of stations, including those in Peoria.

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But the stations’ general manager, Mark DeSantis, said the company merely wants the flexibility to hire out some coverage to save money.


“We have no plans to move the news to Fort Wayne,” DeSantis said. “People want the news from who they’re accustomed to getting it from. We don’t have any plans to move the newscast. We are just looking for flexibility.

“We have a changing industry that requires we do things differently than we did in the 1970s,” he added.

Employees, though, are skeptical. They point out that Granite already tried broadcasting weekend weather from Fort Wayne in 2009. After the employees’ union filed a grievance, an arbitrator ruled the move to Fort Wayne was a violation of the stations’ contract with workers.

Comments (8)

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Al Ming says:

March 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

Don’t be naive……more of this coming is quickly coming. Actually, some see it as overdue.

Brad Dann says:

March 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

This is what happens when you have management that doesn’t know how to monetize dominant ratings and a union that wants inflexible work rules.

Gregg Palermo says:

March 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

Whoever says that “unions are what make America great” have not been following the downward trajectory of Unions (or the country itself). When a man makes 6 figures for installing windshields, you something is horribly wrong with the country.

Robert Crookham says:

March 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Rustbelt… What a load of crap! Post a link to your alleged 6-figure window installer.

    Janet Frankston Lorin says:

    March 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    There’s probably no link to it, but I think the point that he is attempting to make is that the iron ore used to make my car was mined in Michigan, shipped to Japan and made into steel, fabricated into car parts, and assembled into sections which were shipped to Atlanta and assembled into a car. Perhaps there’s a lesson there?

    Carlos Rodriguez says:

    March 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    As a former IowaTVguy I can see this happening in the smaller markets more and and more soon they’ll be just retransmission sites with all automation happening at a hub.

Hope Yen and Charles Babington says:

March 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

The news is still gathered locally in probably 100 or more smaller TV stations that ‘hub’ their production, content insertion, and switching at a central location, in this case Fort Wayne. For those threatening to strike, well, go ahead! You’ll make Granite’s day! They’ll re-hire people hungrier than you, and you’ll be lucky to get a station to hire you with being a striker on your record.

Burl Osborne says:

March 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

No, the news as we know it has basically been canceled and is now rarely local, except for traffic and weather. When news became entertainment (hence Lindsay Lohan left Access Hollywood and E.T and went into “news”) and stopped being part of public service, all bets were off. This is not about unions, which did make our country great, it’s about the corporate agenda in its rush to the bottom, so that anyone who works for a paycheck can compete with India and China, where U.S. companies go for a “deal.” You know, those bastions of liberty and democracy where workers have no rights. So if you’re in favor of Americans making 37¢ an hour, and not being able to buy products here, this is the trend for you.

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