I don't want to delve into the inside dynamics as to why KNBR personnel chose to join the union. I'll leave that to the members themselves, but I have a few theories.
Most of the KNBR on-air staff make decent money, not by everyday standards but good enough. There were inside-the-house grumblings that made the rounds that the few people who voted no on joining the union were largely on-air talent. They're right.
Most of the pro-union block are the board ops, producers, and editors; the people who do a lot of the grunt work. You hear those people on the air who double as both producers and contributors --they do a lot of the behind-scenes material that is a bulk of KNBR's on-air presence when there's no Giants, 49ers and Warriors games. Much as KNBR's sports clients are the most valuable assets of the station, it's the hard work of the lesser-known broadcasters, (like a Ted Ramey, for instance), that keep the station running, (producer, Brian Smith too), and the background players that make sure the spots play, the guests coordinate --all things that need to get done. Things like this are taken for granted but in essence, without them, the station wouldn't be able to run. It's that simple.
For all my criticisms about KNBR, I congratulate the hard-working, (for the most part), and dedicated staff who don't get a lot of recognition for working their butts off for very little compensation and acknowledgement from staff; they may find that organizing a union brings with it future angst but much-needed benefits and improvements-- it's a step in the right direction.
Most of all, it shows KNBR's less visible but just as important workers have a backbone and won't continue to act like a bunch of lemmings getting minimal pay while their cross-building counterparts are making much more money and receiving better and more benefits.
Yeah, down the road negotiating an actual contract will be difficult and tough, especially with a company that is as doggedly anti-union as Cumulus is, but it's a good start. More importantly, it's KNBR staffers showing some self-respect. A cheers and huzzah for the real "leader."
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