Spring 2022

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44 SAGAFTRA | Spring 2022 | Broadcast News T he Broadcast Steering Committee kicked off on March 26 with a pair of special guests: SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and xecutive Vice President Ben Whitehair. At the meeting, led by Chair Cheri Preston and held via oom, Drescher lauded broadcasters for their work during the pandemic and keeping the public informed about the war in Ukraine. Then, Whitehair expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the work broadcasters do, as well as to those present who have volunteered to serve on the committee. He also praised broadcasters' professionalism, integrity and articulacy. As the committee began its business, safety was a major point of discussion. Vice President, Broadcast Bob Butler talked about the kinds of protections that would help keep reporters safe, such as the right to decline a dangerous assignment without fear of reprisal from an employer. The committee noted that multimedia journalists and radio reporters, who go into the field alone, are articularly vulnerable. In particular, one of the dangers of solo live shots is that the reporter is focused on the camera while doing the shoot, and can't look out for potential hazards around them. The discussion took place amid a backdrop of increasing violence and harassment against reporters. Butler is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region that has seen a disturbing number of attacks on news crews in recent years. Planning also continued on putting together a national safety summit, an idea that grew from meetings between newspeople and law enforcement at the San Francisco-Northern California Local. Additionally, the committee discussed the challenges to returning to an office environment after, for many, two years working from home. ach station is approaching return to in-person work differently, and members have different comfort levels about being in close proximity to their colleagues and others in the field Committee members talked about the lack of communication from management at some stations, arbitrary rules around the use of remote tools such as oom, and the desire for assurances that there will be protections in place to prevent the spread of COVID, even as some employers are acting as though the pandemic has ended. There was also a thoughtful discussion about the psychological impact of returning to work in person and the fact that the way people relate to their colleagues has changed since the onset of the pandemic. astly, hief roadcast fficer Mary Cavallaro led an examination of certain provisions in personal services contracts that are unfairly weighted toward employers, and what the union can do to mitigate this in bargaining. The union plans on holding educational programming for all members regarding personal services contracts in the coming months. Broadcast Steering Committee Focuses on Safety Ne Yo Re O n Nov. , the New York Local Board honored fellow board member NBC 4 New York/ WNBC news anchor David Ushery for his induction into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. As one of the most recognized and respected news anchors in the Tri-State region, Ushery was recognized for his commitment to broadcast excellence, passion for community service and his work as a positive role model for New York's youth. Throughout my journey I have always sought the trust of viewers and the respect of colleagues," said Ushery. I have been blessed along the way with the support of family, friends, great co-workers and, yes, my SAG-AFTRA brothers and sisters! Pr Sh St Tr T he SAG-AFTRA News Broadcast team hosted two virtual shop steward training sessions for broadcast member leaders on Feb. 24. Topics covered included the roles and responsibilities of a steward, including being a member liaison, station ambassador and contract enforcer. Union staff reviewed key sections of the National Labor Relations Act, strategies to resolve workplace issues and Weingarten Rights. Time was dedicated to approaching contract violations, including working to resolve the violation informally, through laormanagement meetings and filing a grievance Shop steward Andrew Bowen from the San Diego Local, who is a reporter at KPBS, was on hand to answer uestions during the morning session, and shop steward Jim Donovan from the Philadelphia Local, who is an anchor at CBS 3, shared firsthand eerience during the afternoon session With nearly 100 participants, the News Broadcast team is planning more training in the year ahead.

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