IATSE has ended an 11-day strike against Golf Channel after more than 300 of its freelance broadcast technicians ratified a new two-year contract. The union said the strike started after the Golf Channel – which is owned by the NBC Sports Group – ended nine months of negotiations.
The old contract expired June 13, and union said that the freelancers have been working without a contract – and at wages “far below the standard wages paid other sports broadcasters” – ever since.
“This is the power of solidarity,” said IATSE International President Matt Loeb. “Golf Channel technicians supported one another and achieved something they could not have hoped for on their own. Everyone who works in sports broadcasting will benefit from this contract because it raises the floor for all workers.”
The union said that technicians working in all crafts will receive wage increases that bring them “closer to industry standard rates,” as well as increases in health care contributions from the employer. Golf Channel also agreed to compensate employees who work long hours but don’t qualify for overtime when tournaments fall across two work weeks.
“This is a huge win for broadcast technicians working in the highly specialized world of golf programming,” said Sandra England, IATSE’s department director of broadcast. “Freelance workers standing together like this, supporting each other, it’s never happened before. All three broadcast unions stood in solidarity to send a powerful message – that there is a line where workers will say ‘no’ and back it up, and that nobody can take us for granted.”