minicams. But the networks have succeeded in negating whatever probative value nearly all of these instances might have had. One kind of situation where members of Local 22 provided the lighting for minicams was where the three networks were going to cover the same news event and agreed beforehand, as they have been permitted to do, to assign just one of the networks' crews to do the lighting. If two film crews and one minicam crew were going to be sent out, then Local 22 members would be assigned to do the lighting. But if two minicam crews were to be sent out, then IBEW or NABET members were assigned to do the lighting. This practice gives no help to the plaintiff.
A second kind of situation arose when minicam crews, manned by NABET or IBEW crews, arrived on the scene and found that a Local 22 member accompanying a film crew had already set up the lighting. Since those lights were adequate for any number of cameras, the minicam crews simply took advantage of those lights. The plaintiff has sought to bolster this kind of instance by claiming that after a period of time even if NABET or IBEW members arrived on the scene first, they would simply wait for a Local 22 film crew to come and do the lighting. But it is clear that, on these occasions, network management had assigned their minicam crews to do lighting. Therefore, whatever these crews in fact did or failed to do cannot fairly be attributed to the networks.
The third kind of situation was lighting done at the White House by Local 22 member Cleve Ryan. Mr. Ryan has done the routine lighting at the White House since approximately 1950 regardless of the kind of camera used. But he is a special case. In fact, he is the only Local 22 member specifically mentioned in the Local 22 agreements with the networks. E.g., 1974-1975 Agreement Between Local 22, IATSE, and NBC, § 5(c) (1974) (Plaintiff's Exhibit #1).
Yet another kind of situation arose in late 1971 and early 1972, when CBS first began experimenting with the minicam in the Washington area. On approximately three occasions during that period, CBS assigned a Local 22 member to provide the lighting for a minicam. But in each instance, an IBEW member of the minicam crew complained to a CBS official that members of Local 22 should not be doing this work. The official agreed and promised to rectify the problem. In addition, on over a hundred other occasions during the period in which CBS was experimenting with the minicam, IBEW members provided the lighting for the camera. Therefore, the three instances cited are of no help to the plaintiff.
The final instance which the networks have completely rebutted was the lighting done for the House Judiciary Committee's hearings on the bill of impeachment of President Nixon. Minicams exclusively were used to record these proceedings, and some of the lights for those cameras were put up by members of Local 22. Other lights in the hearing room, however, were put up by NABET members. Nothing helpful to the plaintiff, then, can be gained from this incident.
When these instances are taken away, Local 22 is left with perhaps a handful of occasions of some probative value. But the networks have established that each has assigned minicam lighting work to members of unions other than Local 22 literally hundreds of times from 1973 to the present. Indeed, this is not surprising, since by using IBEW or NABET members, they were permitted to assign two-man rather than three-man crews. The clear conclusion must be, then, that the general practice of each of the networks has been, from the very beginning, to assign this work not to members of Local 22 but to those of these other unions. Local 22 has completely failed, therefore, to show a general practice from which this Court could infer a positive intent on the part of the networks to give jurisdiction over minicam lighting to Local 22, or from which this Court could find the kind of benefit conferred and harm suffered which are necessary to establish an estoppel.
The fourth and final argument made by Local 22 in support of its contention that it at some point obtained jurisdiction over minicam lighting is this: Under the contracts negotiated in 1971-72 and 1973-74, the networks were obligated to bargain in good faith with the union before giving this jurisdiction to other unions; the networks each breached this obligation; therefore, the Court should, as a proper remedy, treat the jurisdiction as having been given to Local 22. But the plaintiff has not been able to point to any provision in these contracts, and the Court has been unable to discover any, which would have put the networks under such an obligation.
Therefore, this argument, along with the others, must be rejected.
The plaintiff has also failed to show the additional element which would be necessary in order to be entitled to injunctive relief -- agreement among the parties to the contract now in effect that Local 22 should have jurisdiction over minicam lighting.
The union argues that at the joint negotiations between the IATSE locals, including Local 22, and the networks, the parties agreed to continue the practice as it had existed in the past. Of course, as indicated above, this would simply have meant that the parties agreed that unions other than Local 22 should be assigned to the lighting for minicams. But in reality, this is not at all what the parties agreed to. This suit was filed in the midst of the negotiations. The issue of jurisdiction was an important one for all parties. For their part, the locals submitted a proposed amendment to the jurisdictional statement which had appeared in previous contracts. The amendment was designed to recognize clearly the IATSE locals' jurisdiction over minicam lighting. But, for their part, the networks firmly rejected this proposal on the ground that they had already given this jurisdiction to IBEW or NABET.
The Court finds, therefore, that in the current contract Local 22 does not have jurisdiction over lighting for minicams.
The second claim that the plaintiff has made is that NBC improperly bargained directly with a number of members of Local 22. The facts are these:
In May of 1976, an official of NBC called in several Local 22 members who were employees of the network. He advised them that the company was going to begin using minicams exclusively, and that the lighting work would be assigned to members of NABET. He also stated that NBC would do everything in its power to assure that Local 22 members secured other jobs in the company. Thereafter the official called each member in and asked him if he wished to be assigned to news events on the local side of the network's operations, where film cameras would continue to be used. At least one person agreed to do this.
It is clear that under Local 22's contract with NBC, the network was free to assign Local 22 members to cover local news stories. The Court finds, then, that the network official's conversations with members of Local 22 did not constitute bargaining in any sense of the word. Therefore, the Court finds that NBC did not violate Local 22's rights under the contract to act as the sole bargaining representative of its members.
In sum, the Court finds that judgment must be entered for the defendants on both counts.
This opinion shall constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
JOHN J. SIRICA / UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE