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.
Outsourcing Worries Peoria TV Employees
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.