MADISON, Wis., and MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — More than 125 local freelance broadcast workers at the Big Ten Network ratified the first ever college sports network union contract with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
Broadcast workers at the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota campuses will receive guaranteed rate increases, health contributions, and eventually pension and annuity contributions under the new contract. These workers produce telecasts of events ranging from Championship Women’s Volleyball to Big Time College Football, featuring some of the top ranked teams in the nation.
“I’m happy to see that our wages and benefits now compare to the caliber of play that we broadcast,” said Chris Tveitbakk, audio engineer for the Big Ten Network and president IATSE Local 745.
Negotiated by the IATSE, IATSE Local 745 in Minnesota, and IATSE Local 414 in Wisconsin, the contract is the result of months of negotiations that began after broadcast workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the IATSE in the summer of 2014. After often going for years without raises and working with no guaranteed overtime or holiday pay, workers will now be paid fair, market-based rates for the work they do in helping to make the Big Ten Network one of the most profitable sport networks.
The four-year contract, with wage retroactivity to September 1, 2015, was ratified in a five-day voting period that ended November 5th. All work conducted after November 5th will be under the full terms of the contract, including the newly negotiated wage and benefit contributions.
IATSE Local 745 and IATSE Local 414 are local unions representing skilled broadcast professionals, specializing in sports and entertainment television production. Local 745 represents broadcast workers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, and Local 414 represents workers in the Greater Milwaukee area.