UPDATED with NLRB statement: The Directors Guild has withdrawn its representation of employees at WJLA, the ABC-affiliated Washington, D.C.-area TV station owned by the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group. The DGA had represented eight employees working there, Sinclair said in a statement, before the guild provided notice of “unconditional and complete withdrawal of representation.”
The DGA declined comment, but withdrawal often precedes a decertification vote in which workers elect to no longer be represented by a union. The National Labor Relations Board, however, told Deadline on Tuesday, “We do not appear to have a petition for decertification involving the parties.”
“Sinclair and WJLA are proud of our working environment, where we offer competitive wages and strong benefits in a professional and creative atmosphere,” WJLA general manager Dan Mellon said in a statement. “Our most vital resources are our people, and we appreciate the trust they place in us and are incredibly pleased we can deal directly with them.” Contacted by Deadline, he declined to say whether or not a decertification vote had been in the works.
Sinclair released similar statements last year announcing that it had received official notice from the NLRB that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers “is no longer the exclusive representative of the employees” at its WTOV-9 station in Steubenville, OH, and that the IATSE “is no longer the exclusive representative of the employees” at its KBOI station in Boise, ID.
Sinclair released a similar statement in 1999 after AFTRA “disclaimed representation of and interest in the employees” working at Sinclair radio stations WWL-AM and WLMG-FM in New Orleans. The AFTRA withdrawal came just days before a decertification election was to be held.
The latest round of withdrawals and decertification efforts suggest that unions are going to find it increasingly difficult to organize workers at Sinclair stations, and to hold onto the ones they already represent.