SEATTLE, WA (May 10, 2007)—The trio of veteran journalists at KOMO-TV who were abruptly fired this week get a hearing tomorrow morning before the National Labor Relations Board—the result of an "Unfair Labor Practice" filed yesterday by the Seattle Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
"The firing by KOMO-TV was clearly retaliation by management against these three award-winning broadcasters who were only trying to assert their freedom to have a voice at work through their union with AFTRA," said John Sandifer, AFTRA Seattle Executive Director.
AFTRA members Kevin Reece, Joe Furia, and April Zepeda were let go without warning on Monday. The firings came days after Furia and Zepeda volunteered to serve as leaders for AFTRA members at KOMO-TV.
"Just as AFTRA members here in Seattle and throughout the country are standing strong with Kevin, Joe, and April, we are also standing together with all of the AFTRA members at KOMO-TV." Sandifer said. "We won't let their freedoms be abused by an employer who should know better."
"In addition, community groups are coming forward to support the three respected journalists and all broadcasters at KOMO-TV," said Sandifer.
When terminated by KOMO-TV general manager Jim Clayton and news director Holly Gauntt, Reece, Furia, and Zepeda immediately notified Sandifer, who quickly went into action to develop the case for the unfair labor practice charge and to protect severance pay and other rights of the journalists guaranteed by their AFTRA agreement with the station.
The hearing by an examiner of the labor board begins at 8:30 am Friday. If the investigation finds that the claims against KOMO-TV are true, a recommendation that an unfair labor practice will be made with remedies for the broadcasters and penalties against the station.
KOMO-TV is owned by Fisher Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSCI).
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. More than 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists are moving forward together through AFTRA to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities. AFTRA members embrace change in society—from new culture to new technology—and incorporate change in their work and craft. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, dancers, singers, 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. Visit AFTRA at www.aftra.com.