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Big Ten Network technicians in Chicago vote to unionize with IATSE

Big Ten Network technicians in Chicago vote to unionize with IATSE
Fans watch a match between the University of Maryland, left, and the University of Illinois in the Big Ten Network "League of Legends" championship in the Battle Theater at North American League Championship Arena at Riot Games in Los Angeles in 2017. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Big Ten Network technicians in Chicago have voted to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a decision that will give representation to individuals who work in the control rooms of the college sports network’s headquarters.

IATSE said Tuesday that the vote took place via mail ballots and was counted Friday. The vote covers Chicago-based individuals who mix the picture and sound for the network’s live event programming, as well as workers who insert graphics and replay footage.

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The technicians affected by the vote include full-time employees as well as freelancers. They will be represented by IATSE Local 762 in Chicago, which represents broadcast technicians working in live sporting event coverage throughout the metropolitan Chicago area and beyond.

Members are expected to work on producing a comprehensive contract proposal that will be presented to Big Ten Network for negotiation.

The union, which represents thousands of technicians and crafts people throughout the entertainment industry, already has contracts with Big Ten workers in other areas of the company, including work done at the campuses of five Big Ten Conference schools.

Representatives of Big Ten Network didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Big Ten Network is majority owned by 21st Century Fox. The cable network is expected to remain part of the “new” Fox company that will be led by Lachlan Murdoch after a potential acquisition of much of the Fox media assets by Walt Disney Co. or Comcast.

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