Members of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians staged what appeared to be a sickout Friday at NBC in Burbank, but management said neither KNBC-TV Channel 4 nor the network were affected.
"There is a higher than normal absentee rate today at our facility at NBC in California," acknowledged KNBC press liaison Regina Miyamoto. "We are currently checking into the cause. In the meantime, we are taking appropriate action to make sure our programming is unaffected."
Carrie Biggs-Adams, president of NABET Local 53 in Burbank, said there had been no planned action, but added that a higher than normal number of technicians who work at KNBC did call in sick.
"The company called me at 1:05 a.m. Friday and said there was a problem," Biggs-Adams said. "At least 16 cameramen had called in ill."
She said she contacted the sick cameramen, confirmed that they were "ill or upset" and let NBC know within 40 minutes that management personnel would have to assume the NABET members' duties. She was told that each of the absent cameramen would be required to have a doctor's excuse when he returned to work.
NABET, which represents 2,800 NBC technicians, writers, camera operators and other behind-the-camera personnel, has been at an impasse with NBC since April 1, when a three-year labor contract expired. Union members have continued to work while considering whether to call a strike.