PORTLAND – WGME-TV’s general manager went on the air Tuesday to criticize the four Democratic gubernatorial candidates for refusing to buy campaign advertising from the station.

The candidates say they are demonstrating their support for union workers at Channel 13, but General Manager Tom Humpage said in an editorial announcement that the candidates made their decision without asking the station’s management for its side of the labor dispute.

Humpage said the union is not on strike, and no labor laws have been violated. He said WGME employs more union workers than any other television station in Maine.

About 40 engineers and technicians have been working at WGME since February without a negotiated contract, according to Matthew Beck, an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers organizer and a former news producer and director.

The IBEW represents operating technicians, news editors, assignment editors, photographers, engineers, producers and directors.

Humpage said the candidates who are refusing to advertise with the station acted without getting all of the facts.

“What does it say about a candidate if he or she makes important decisions without all the facts and without understanding all of the consequences?” he said. “Is that really someone you would want representing you as your governor?”

Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, one of four Democratic candidates, said Tuesday night that she hopes the station and the union will be able to work out something.

“We have the facts,” she said. “There’s an ongoing labor dispute. I simply chose not to purchase advertising time during the primary until that dispute was worked out. I would not cross a picket line either.”

MaineToday Media Inc., which publishes The Portland Press Herald, the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel, has a content-sharing partnership with WGME.


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