- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Workers from Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic walked off the job about three hours before the broadcast of the Washington Capitals game at Verizon Center last night, staging an apparent protest as part of their efforts to unionize.

The game was broadcast as scheduled using management workers and other employees from Comcast SportsNet’s offices in Bethesda. The game was shown using fewer camera angles, and intermission was shortened from 18 minutes to 15 minutes.

The walkout involved camera operators and other technical employees who do not work under a union contract and have been seeking to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts Local 819.

According to the Web site of the AFL-CIO, 44 workers from the Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic voted to join the union in October 2005.

Workers did not comment publicly but apparently have been upset over differences in wages between themselves and workers at the competing Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

Union officials could not be reached for comment last night.

Comcast officials declined to comment directly on the incident but said the company was working with the employees on a labor agreement involving the union.

“Comcast SportsNet is a pro-employee company, and we invest in our employees with the belief that our company can only be as strong as our workforce,” spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said. “We are negotiating a labor agreement covering certain technical employees at Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic that reflects these principles. While these negotiations are underway, we stand by our commitment to deliver high-quality sports coverage to our viewers.”

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