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Published on Jun 20, 2016
Although NABET-CWA Local 41 won a union election last fall for workers at CAN TV (Chicago's public access tv center), management has been standing in the way of a contract. On June 15, 2016 the union and community allies, including Arise Chicago and Jobs with Justice, were forced to protest the contract roadblock. The action was minutes before the CAN TV board of directors' arrived for their meeting.
Employees have been living at near-poverty levels while upper management has been living on six-figure salaries. And a CAN TV worker, Renee Jackson, was fired the previous week while asking to have her union steward with her as a witness in a disciplinary hearing.
We show Executive Director ($188,000/year) Barbara Popovic stating back in July, 2015 that "CAN TV will fully support the employee's decision [if they vote in a union]...and we pledge to work cooperatively with NABET Local 41". A year later, it may be hard to take seriously that statement. Since these promises were made, management has orchestrated "extreme surveillance" of workers and has issued exceptional disciplinary measures for issues which, prior to the union vote, had not been used for the last 15 years.
Management is punishing and intimidating its workers for voting in a union. A management firm, hired since the unionization, boasts on its website that it offers "Union Avoidance" training on "practical steps to remain union free."
And, although some of its employees are making "fast-food" wages, CAN TV is blowing $500 an hour for an anti-union lawyer in contract negotiations!
Comments and interview from: Elma Lucas (producer of public access show Elma And Company); Don Villar (President of NABET-CWA Local 41); Jorge Mujica (Arise Chicago); Renee Jackson (fired CAN TV employee); Jeremy Frye (production coordinator at CAN TV); Jannelle White (CAN TV operations coordinator, NABET-CWA Local 14 contract negotiations committee).
The union and community supporters are calling on CAN TV to immediately settle a fair contract with its employees, so that the access center can turn its focus on serving the public access community; and re-hire Renee Jackson.