Workers Are Picketing The Pac-12 Network Broadcasts Today, So Be Sure To Tune In For Some Technical Difficulties [Update]S

The Los Angeles Times reports that technical workers for the Pac-12 network—all members of the IATSE— have walked out, and will be on site picketing all Pac-12 networks broadcasts today:

One of Hollywood's largest unions wants to sack the newly formed Pac-12 Network - at least temporarily.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents crew members who work on movies and TV shows, said early Saturday morning it has declared a strike against Pac-12 Network, calling it an "unfair employer."

Launched this summer, the network provides cable and satellite broadcasts of Pac-12 Conference teams' sporting events, including men's football and women's basketball.

...and men's basketball, which is happening all day today. There are five games, all of which are set to be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network (all times EST): CS Northridge at Arizona St. (2 p.m.), Grambling St. at Oregon St. (4 p.m.), Idaho St. at Oregon (6 p.m.), Nevada at Washington (8 p.m.), and Minnesota at USC (10:30 p.m.).

In a statement, the union said that in some markets the network has used non-union crews who generally receive lower wages, no benefits and don't have the job protections afford by a union contract. Efforts to negotiate with the network have been rebuffed, IATSE said.

There will be IATSE picket lines today on the campuses of all of the above home teams, and it's not clear what the Pac-12 Network contingency plan is, or if they need one—the Los Angeles Times reports only, "Representatives of Pac-12 Network were not immediately available for comment." If you're watching these games and seeing irregularities or technical difficulties, let us know. Though it sounds like some of the non-union crew will still be on hand, if IATSE members were represented in significant numbers, it seems doubtful that a skeleton staff can keep everything running 100% smoothly over more than ten hours of action today. That first game—CS Northridge at Arizona State—starts right about now.

Picture (of IATSE president Matt Loeb) via the Los Angeles Times

IATSE Declares Strike Against Pac-12 Network [Los Angeles Times]

Update, 2:20 p.m.: A tipster sends in the email that went out IATSE members today announcing the strike. A slightly ambiguous portion seems to suggest that IATSE has relationships with contractors that employ people working at the Pac-12 network, and that those employees won't be crossing the picket lines today. That means that the Pac-12 network will indeed be short on staff:

IATSE Strikes Pac12 Network

We are setting up area standard picket lines in Los Angeles CA, Phoenix AZ, Eugene OR, Corvallis OR, and Seattle WA, on Saturday December 8. International President Matthew Loeb and the IATSE Executive Board have declared PAC-12 Network an unfair employer. This is an Area Standards picket line. The strike is in response to Pac 12 network hiring people for lesser wages and benefits than the established area standard.

The employees working for our contractors – Pettigrew, PCCC, BBP etc, are not on strike, they will be exercising their right to not cross the IATSE Picket Line established on behalf of the people working directly for Pac 12 being paid lesser wages and benefits. We have no dispute with any employer other than Pac 12 Network. We will drop our picket lines when Pac 12 Network agrees to Area Standard wages and benefits for all workers in classifications we represent.

The Union has tried to communicate directly with executives at Pac 12 Network, but all forms of communication have been completely ignored. The IATSE has shown flexibility with the Network by granting contract waivers to accommodate budget restrictions on some product. The IATSE has allowed student employment alongside professional technicians. We requested a meeting with the Network to discuss a more productive educational structure; once again the executives ignored our communication... We will keep you informed of developments on this action as warranted.

Update, 6:27 p.m.: We don't get the Pac-12 network over here, but we did hear a couple of updates. Sounds like it was weird: