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Layoff of Three WNBC Reporters Condemned by AFTRA Members

NEW YORK (November 15, 2006) – Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists today condemned the layoff of three widely-respected WNBC news reporters by NBC-Universal management as an insult to the people of New York who count on television news.

“NBC-Universal should be ashamed. In firing these reporters, NBC-Universal is depriving New Yorkers of three respected voices who are trusted by the community,” said Sean Taylor, AFTRA New York Assistant Executive Director.

The WNBC reporters who were laid off include general assignment reporter Joe Avellar, health reporter Dr. Max Gomez, and Emmy-award-winning anchor/correspondent Jane Hanson.

“Just two days ago, NBC-Universal told AFTRA members that no final decisions had been made about layoffs and other changes at WNBC.  Clearly, that was not true.” said Taylor.

When NBC-Universal announced its “NBCU 2.0” restructuring plan, AFTRA members requested information and a meeting with management to review the effects of the proposal on jobs and the workplace. Management responded that the plan was still being developed and no meeting was necessary.

“NBC-Universal has demonstrated contempt for the public and its own employees by forcing these layoffs without respecting the contractual rights of AFTRA members,” Taylor said. “We’ll take all steps necessary to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the news anchors and reporters whom the New York community depends upon and trusts.”