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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  22 stations out of business, called for an wage exemption for smaller stations, but would have required adequate proof of financial hardship. 22 The IBEW also cited the routine breaking of Section 7(a) of the NIRA, which had been drafted to protect the employee’s right to organize or join a labor union. It said "considerable trickery" was used by radio broadcasters to maintain company unions in order to frustrate outside unions from entering the workplace. Thomas McLean, the IBEW’s representative at the hearings, cited Chicago, New York, and Cleveland as sites where company unions had been set up. He said notices were later distributed to company technicians threatening their dismissal if they joined the IBEW or the AFL. The hearings also featured the first public and sworn testimony from representatives of CBS’s and NBC’s company unions. ATE representative, Phillip I. Merryman, described the NBC organization as "a non-company dominated union." He was quizzed for some three hours about the history of the ATE by Mr. Farnsworth, Internal NBC documents would later reveal Phillip Merryman’s close working relationship with O.B. Hanson, NBC’s chief of technical operations and supervisor of technicians. Hanson was also routinely involved in discussions with his counterparts at CBS that further suggest a formalized, if not high-level, management framework to frustrate and coopt independent unionization of technical staffs with the ATE and the ACBT. 23 The RCBA June hearings also marked the first public entry of a new union into the broadcast unionization drive, the American Radio Telegraphists Association (ARTA). ARTA had been formed in 1931 to represent maritime radio operators and telegraph employees. Its president Hoyt Haddock commented on the RCBA’s hearings into the network’s company unions, "I have yet to see any agreement in the interest of the employee," he said at the time. The ARTA, which soon become a strong ally of John L. Lewis and his dissident CIO movement in 1935, was apparently already interested in working toward a vertical organization of the U.S. broadcast industry. Consequently, Haddock firmly opposed efforts by the IBEW and members of the RCBA to classify technicians salaries by job. The industrial model of union membership that the ARTA sought to establish made

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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22
stations out of business, called for an wage exemption for smaller stations, but would have required
adequate proof of financial hardship.
22
The IBEW also cited the routine breaking of Section 7(a) of the NIRA, which had been drafted
to protect the employee’s right to organize or join a labor union. It said "considerable trickery" was
used by radio broadcasters to maintain company unions in order to frustrate outside unions from
entering the workplace. Thomas McLean, the IBEW’s representative at the hearings, cited Chicago,
New York, and Cleveland as sites where company unions had been set up. He said notices were later
distributed to company technicians threatening their dismissal if they joined the IBEW or the AFL.
The hearings also featured the first public and sworn testimony from representatives of CBS’s
and NBC’s company unions. ATE representative, Phillip I. Merryman, described the NBC organization
as "a non-company dominated union." He was quizzed for some three hours about the history of the
ATE by Mr. Farnsworth,
Internal NBC documents would later reveal Phillip Merryman’s close working relationship with
O.B. Hanson, NBC’s chief of technical operations and supervisor of technicians. Hanson was also
routinely involved in discussions with his counterparts at CBS that further suggest a formalized, if not
high-level, management framework to frustrate and coopt independent unionization of technical staffs
with the ATE and the ACBT.
23
The RCBA June hearings also marked the first public entry of a new union into the broadcast
unionization drive, the American Radio Telegraphists Association (ARTA). ARTA had been formed
in 1931 to represent maritime radio operators and telegraph employees. Its president Hoyt Haddock
commented on the RCBA’s hearings into the network’s company unions, "I have yet to see any
agreement in the interest of the employee," he said at the time. The ARTA, which soon become a
strong ally of John L. Lewis and his dissident CIO movement in 1935, was apparently already
interested in working toward a vertical organization of the U.S. broadcast industry. Consequently,
Haddock firmly opposed efforts by the IBEW and members of the RCBA to classify technicians
salaries by job. The industrial model of union membership that the ARTA sought to establish made


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