More than 15,000 people have signed a petition from the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees asking Sinclair Broadcast Group to improve its recent offer to unemployed broadcast technicians.
The petition was circulated after IATSE criticized Sinclair’s plan to loan money in response to the coronavirus pandemic through a multi-million-dollar emergency fund that offers an interest-free advance of $2,500 to the 1,000 sports network freelancers who work at its Fox regional sports networks and Marquee Sports Network. The company has said that the advance “can be made up in small deductions once the games return.”
IATSE slammed the offer last week. The union said Tuesday that Sinclair’s offer of $2,500 loans was “contemptuous.” The petition to Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley asks that the company follow the example set by CBS, FOX, ESPN, and NBC by offering compensation and benefit contributions for canceled events.
“Broadcast techs are genuinely hurting in what was supposed to be one of their busiest months, and the workers know Sinclair can afford to do better,” said Fran O’Hern, Co-Director of Broadcast for the IATSE in a statement.
“We hope that 15,000 petition signatures send the message that Sinclair needs to put their broadcast techs before profits and follow the lead of the other major networks. In the meantime, sports broadcast technicians across the country find themselves in a unique position, sitting at home and watching reruns of games they produced, knowing that Sinclair is generating revenue while they struggle to keep their families afloat,” O’Hern added.
Representatives for Sinclair Broadcast Group did not respond to immediate requests for comment.