WSBE Rhode Island PBS  

Rhode Island PBS GUILTY of Labor Law Violations says Federal Administrative Law Judge

After many months of Labor Board charges and a hearing in Federal Court prosecuted by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, on July 23, 2018, Administrative Law Judge David Goldman ruled that Rhode Island Public Broadcasting System (RI PBS) was guilty of multiple violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Siding with IBEW Local 1228, Judge Goldman ruled that RI PBS violated the law by: coercively interrogating employees about union support, refusing to recognize IBEW Local 1228 as the workers’ Bargaining Agent, refusing to engage in bargaining with the Union, ignoring information requests, and selectively giving pay increases without bargaining with the Union.

From these actions, the Judge ordered RI PBS to “Cease and Desist,” recognize the Union as the representative of the station’s workers, bargain in good faith to gain a Contract without its prior delaying tactics, stop interrogating workers about their union sympathies, and post the attached notice in the workplace within the next 13 days.

“For months we felt that this was the right decision and one that places the rights of workers at the top of the issue.” said Fletcher Fischer, Business Manager of IBEW Local 1228. “IBEW Local 1228 has represented the workers at the Station for over 5 decades but as soon as the State of Rhode Island withdrew ownership, Station Manager David Piccerelli and his lawyers set out on a course to deny the workers their rights to Union representation. And he did so without informing the Board of Directors of his campaign. In fact, they were not even aware of the trial pursued by a branch of the Federal Government until the Union informed them. But our fight is far from over. We fully expect that RI PBS by its Managers and Board Members will appeal the Judge’s order to the NLRB in Washington, now that a majority of its members have been hand-picked by Trump. This is what PBS stands for in Rhode Island now.”

The Company tried to make the claim that, based on its employee “interviews” – interviews the Judge deemed legally coercive - they believed that the workers no longer wanted the Union. “We have no doubt that they will continue to make this claim but the truth is Management, through its Director of Engineering, regularly grilled workers about their loyalty to the station vs the Union. This is the same Director of Engineering who was witnessed wearing a pistol on his belt in the workplace and who regularly brought his guns to work to “clean” them.  When I raised this issue with Piccerelli, he told me that the engineering director ‘had a permit’ and that there was no policy against bringing weapons into work. Not until I raised the issue at a Board Meeting this past May did the Board of Directors even know about this situation and hastily created an anti-gun policy. What else has Mr. Piccerelli kept from the Board?”

George Nee, President of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said “The management and Board of RI PBS should be ashamed of themselves for engaging in this type of illegal behavior towards their employees. It is unacceptable and should cease immediately. We urge RI PBS not to appeal this decision and to treat their workforce with the respect and dignity they deserve."

Fischer added, “We call on Rhode Island elected officials, all viewers and especially contributing members of RI PBS to urge the Board of Directors to stop this anti-worker approach and respect the Judge’s decision by complying with it and not dragging this out by appealing it down to Washington.”


WBZ - CBS Boston

Layoffs of 7 members still have not taken place as a result of all CBS Owned and Operated Master Controls being hubbed by a third party in Atlanta. It seems there are technical issues still to be resolved. A few of these workers may end up with opportunites at WCVB doing Master Control work. The WBZ Bargaining Unit has taken a big hit over the last decade due to CBS downsizing. We lost CBS radio this year as well. 

Congratulations to all of our members who won 2018 New England Emmy’s


Dorothy Dickie – Producer

Vince Franke - Producer


Ted Cooper – Videographer

Tim Geers – Videographer

Chris Garvin – Videographer

Lee Harrington – Videographer

G.J. Smith – Videographer

Bobby Souza – Videographer

Steve Colvin – Videographer

Bob Oliver – Videographer

Gino Mauro – Videographer/Editor

David Mongeau – Videographer

Carl Vieira - Videographer

Ellen Boyce - Editor

Brian Menz - Editor

Barry Mullin -  Editor

Debborah Therrien  - Editor

Don Potito – Technical Director

David Gardiner – Audio

John Bonner – Lighting Director


Bryan Monaghan – Producer

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