Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Black-owned Sheridan Broadcasting Accused of NOT Paying its Former Employees Back Pay and Severance

On air sign in radio studio
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*It seems there’s a problem in Pittsburgh. The former employees of Sheridan Broadcasting have been waiting since 2017 to get their back pay and severance when the company ceased operations as far as supplying news and sports info to affiliate radio stations around the country. In an email statement sent to EURweb, the situation is outlined for the public’s understanding and enlightenment.

Pittsburgh, PA — Several journalists formerly employed by Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) and Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN) are calling out the Black-owned company and its owners for refusing to pay salaries and severances owed when the company ceased daily operations nearly five years ago.

On August 29, 2017, (SBC) owners Ronald Davenport, Sr. and Ronald Davenport, Jr. informed 11 employees they were discontinuing their daily news and sports broadcast services to affiliated radio stations across the country. Davenport Jr. told employees they would not receive final paychecks or employee severance packages despite a long-standing union contract negotiated for the employees, who were company union members, by the (Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA).

Subsequently, the union filed a civil action lawsuit for breach of contract on behalf of the affected full-time and part-time news anchors, audio journalists, and producers. The union filed the civil case to obtain earned unpaid wages, severances, unreimbursed expenses, and related damages deemed owed in a previous arbitration filed against the company.

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Ron Davenport Sr - Ron Davenport Jr
Ron Davenport Sr. – Ron Davenport Jr.

In October 2019, a Pennsylvania District Court found in favor of the union against defendants Sheridan Broadcasting Networks, Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation, Ronald Davenport Jr., and Ronald Davenport Sr. and awarded employees a total of $325,827.64.

The defendants appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and a three-judge panel overruled the trial court and held that the Davenports were not individually liable.

The eleven former employees are still outraged by the courts’ decision and disappointed that the Pittsburgh/Ohio chapter of SAG/AFTRA was often negligent in its communication of proceedings in the case with its membership.

But most of all, the victimized workers are outraged by the bad business behavior of the Davenports, who continue their radio business and have the gall to retain board seats with media companies like Block Communications (owner of the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette) and Mellon Private Asset Management, to name a few. The former employees are calling on these companies and others associated with the Davenports to urge them to pay their debts out of a sense of common decency if nothing else.
source: Danielle M. Smith and Ty Miller

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