On June 9, 2003 the Regional Director of National Labor Relations Board, Region 12 issued a Decision and Direction of Election ordering that a secret ballot election be conducted among freelance broadcast employees of Fox Sports Net Florida.
The DD&E resulted from hearing which was held in response to a petition for election filed by the IATSE on behalf of the freelance employees. Fox Florida sought the hearing in order to deny the technicians the opportunity to vote on union representation. At the hearing the company argued, among other things, that the technicians were independent contractors, not employees and, therefore, ineligible for representation. They also argued that if the NLRB found the technicians to be statutory employees, than they were not employees of Fox Florida but of a crewing service. In the event those arguments failed the company also sought to limit the job classifications included in the bargaining unit and the geographic scope of the unit.
In rendering her decision the Regional Director discounted the company’s contentions and ruled in favor of the freelance technicians on every issue in dispute. Technicians employed on the telecasting of sporting events on Fox Sports Net Florida in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County have been ruled to be employees of Fox and an election will be conducted to determine whether or not they want to be represented by the IATSE.
This decision is consistent with several earlier rulings and so continues a pattern of the IATSE successfully fending off employer challenges to the organizing of freelance sports broadcast technicians.