After everything he’s lost – job, house, wife, health insurance, hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages, even sleep – Tyrone Riggs still holds onto his “unshakable faith in justice.” Riggs was one of the 100 DC-area broadcast technicians who lost their jobs 10 years ago at CNN, where the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month found overwhelming evidence (CNN Workers Win Justice After 11-Year Legal Battle) that the news channel engaged in anti-union activity in what Communications Workers of America called a "phony reorganization scheme to get rid of unionized workers."
Riggs, a cameraman fired just before Christmas in 2003, was out in front of CNN’s DC headquarters on Wednesday with other CWA members and supporters, passing out leaflets and talking to passersby about the ongoing struggle by the fired workers and their union to get CNN to comply with the NLRB’s order to rehire about 100 workers and compensate 200 others. Riggs, who now freelances part-time, said the NLRB ruling was “like a glass of water after being in the desert for twenty days” but NABET-CWA 31 President Rich McDermott said the 11-year legal battle is likely to stretch on, as CNN has appealed the Board ruling. “On the positive side, people now understand the importance of being part of the union, of having that contract, which gives you strength, fair employment and good pay.” The local plans to keep attention on the struggle by continuing the leafleting at CNN every Wednesday at 11:45a.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock/Union City