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AFTRA Launches Twitter Campaign to ‘Save Local News’ in Central Illinois

Posted July 15, 2011

LOS ANGELES (July 15, 2011) – Members of the Peoria Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO – a national union of more than 70, 000 broadcast professionals, recording artists and performers – will launch a Twitter campaign today in conjunction with its “Day of Reckoning” rally for WEEK/WHOI-TV member employees. The rally will be held at 5:00 p.m. CST at the United Auto Workers Local 974 located at 3025 Springfield Road, East Peoria, next to the WEEK/WHOI-TV station headquarters.

Supporters around the country of the Central Illinois news team – which includes photographers, producers, reporters, anchors, meteorologists and multimedia journalists – are encouraged to take to Twitter to voice their concern over the way employer Silver Point, and its Granite Broadcasting, are refusing to bargain a fair contract.

AFTRA has created a special Twitter campaign page on its website – http://www.aftra.com/savelocalnews.htm - allowing those on Twitter to easily tweet messages to Granite Broadcasting CEO Peter Markham, Illinois elected leadership, and senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. Users will tweet using the hashtag #savelocalnews to show their solidarity and send messages of support. Tweets with the #savelocalnews hashtag will appear in a live scrolling feed on the Union’s website campaign page.

The news team at WEEK/WHOI-TV, who are members of AFTRA, plan to protest the company’s recent announcement that it will impose its “last, best and final” proposal to employees, despite repeated offers by AFTRA negotiators to return to the negotiating table.

AFTRA members began contract negotiations with station owners in November 2010. The negotiations stalled on February 18, 2011 despite months of good faith bargaining and offers of compromise by AFTRA members to many of the Corporation’s proposals. Since then, AFTRA members have continued to work without a contract, and now the station’s owners have informed workers they plan to unilaterally impose the new terms on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

The corporation’s move to “impose” its proposals on the WEEK/WHOI-TV news team would subject the employees to a number of substandard working conditions that threatens to damage the station’s ability to deliver local news to the Central Illinois community.

A recent petition drive garnered more than 2,700 signatures from area residents in support of the 30 AFTRA employees at WEEK/WHOI-TV who provide professional, quality local news and weather in Central Illinois.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.


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