On January 30, 2002 AFL-CIO President J. Sweeney advised the IATSE that impartial Umpire Howard Lesnick had cleared the IATSE of charges filed against it by the IBEW under Article XX, Section 2 and 20 of the AFL-CIO Constitution, IATSE International President Short announced.
The charges arose out of an petition filed with the National Labor Relations Board by the IATSE on May 24, 2001 seeking a representation election for a group of freelance broadcast technicians employed by Fox Sports Net New York. IBEW claimed that the same group of technicians were already covered by a contract that they held with a crewing service called Barry Fialk, Inc. which identified freelance technicians to work for FSNY broadcasts. IBEW’s charges claimed that the IATSE was raiding their bargaining unit.
In his ruling on the Section 2 charge, Impartial Umpire Lesnick found that Barry Fialk, Inc. served merely as a “straw boss” for FSNY and had “virtually no discretion in setting conditions, of employment.” Moreover, “If [Fialk, Inc.] is an entity created by Fox’s initiative and operated by it at will…” As a result, Lesnick found there to be no employer-employee relationship between the technicians and Fialk and the alleged contract between 1212 and Fialk insufficient to bar the IATSE’s election.
The Section 20 charges were filed by the IBEW as a result of an unfair labor practice charge filed by the IATSE which alleged that the 1212/Fialk contract was based upon unlawful recognition by Fialk of 1212 as the representative of the technicians. The IATSE unfair labor practice charge sought to challenge the validity of the contract and have the NLRB resume the hearing on the IATSE’s election petition. In dismissing the Section 20 charge, Lesnick ruled that “I cannot hold, however, that an affiliate…violates Section 20 when it seeks, for whatever motive, to have the hearing on that challenged petition resumed.”
As a result of the decision the IATSE has requested that the NLRB resume the hearing on the election petition in order to provide the freelance broadcast technicians with the opportunity to vote on IATSE representation as quickly as possible.