You Must Stay and Work

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Last week, FTVLive told you the very sad news that WOIO (Cleveland) Photographer Chris Reymann took his own life.

There are a number of people in the station that have contacted FTVLive and believe that one of the reasons Reymann decided to commit suicide, was the environment at the station.

Yesterday, FTVLive showed a picture of the bulletin board at WOIO which talked about the station telling employees that they must work mandatory overtime.

Someone posted a sign on the board saying, “No Mandatory Overtime.” Underneath that sign was a sign read “No person or job is worth your mental health.”

Some inside WOIO think that the station pushed too far.

Here is the overtime memo that GM Erik Schrader sent out to the staff about the mandatory overtime. It was obtained by FTVLive:

From: "Schrader, Erik"
Date: September 3, 2019 at 4:30:06 PM EDT
To: All WOIO-WUAB News <>
Subject: First, Fair, Everywhere and OT


As you know, earlier this year, WOIO rebranded itself and our newscast was retitled 19 News under the mantra First. Fair. Everywhere. I think even this early on we’re seeing positive results – in research and in ratings. I know you appreciate how important it is to keep First. Fair. Everywhere at the forefront of what we do every day. In today’s ultra-competitive environment and the insatiable demand for content, truly being first, fair, and everywhere is really not an option when it comes to the continued success of our station.

Given the nature of our chosen profession, this will regularly require exceptional effort from all of us. For instance, being first, fair, and everywhere may mean completing an overtime assignment following a shift - or arriving to work early - in order to ensure a package is ready for air. Most times our team members recognize this responsibility and willingly work an overtime assignment. Even so, there have been a few issues with overtime assignments being followed. The station has tried to be flexible in this regard and has not fully exercised its right to require an overtime assignment be completed by a particular employee. This has resulted in some stories not being all they can be and in some employees shouldering a larger burden of work than their co-workers. It’s bad for our content, bad for morale, bad for 19 News.

Looking toward the future and in line with our goal of being the best, we are going to more formally address the issue of overtime assignment. If an overtime assignment is made, the station will expect the assignment to be completed as directed.

Of course, we intend to issue overtime assignments in a reasonable and equitable manner. If an employee would face particular hardship due to an overtime assignment that was not pre-scheduled, we’ll absolutely consider the specifics and make an individualized decision as to that specific overtime assignment. However, in the end please be aware that an employee may be required to work overtime over their personal objection.

I appreciate your attention to this important issue. If you have any questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Again, thanks for the hard work everyone is putting into making us better and better each day.