Settlement in works at WGME 13

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A contract dispute at WGME Channel 13 soon may end, according to a representative of a union that in February accused the television news station’s owners of unfair labor practices.

Matt Beck, shop steward of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837, on Saturday released a statement announcing the union will encourage members to support new a contract with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. of Baltimore, Md.

The union and broadcast corporation have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract, Beck wrote. A ratification vote is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

“The full union bargaining committee will recommend this package to our membership as being a very good deal,” Beck said.

On Feb. 11, workers protested outside the WGME 13 offices in Lewiston, claiming Sinclair Broadcast Group was offering contracts that would effectively destroy the union, and claiming the corporation of left workers without pay increases for two years despite increasing health insurance costs.

The new contract, Beck said Saturday, should “represent victory for the 50 video editors, operating technicians, news photographers, news producers, engineers, and producer/directors represented by IBEW at WGME.”

“All we wanted was a fair contract. That was the point,” he wrote. “A fair contract is exactly what we got.”

According to the Sinclair group Web site, the corporation “owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 59 television stations in 36 markets.”

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