IATSE Claims LIV Golf Strips Broadcast Crews’ Healthcare, Other Benefits
IATSE released a statement on Wednesday saying that broadcast technicians responsible for LIV Golf coverage have lost their healthcare and retirement benefits for the 2023 season as a result of LIV management’s decision to move to a non-union production company. The full statement from IATSE follows:
Broadcast workers are integral to the success of every sports production and take pride in their work to bring quality content to audiences worldwide. However, many behind-the-scenes technicians responsible for LIV Golf coverage feel far from valued team members.
In LIV Golf’s 2022 inaugural season, crewmembers worked under a union contract, which contributed to the healthcare and retirement benefits that workers deserve. But the deal changed for the crew in LIV’s 2023 sophomore season. Workers were shocked to learn that LIV had pulled the rug out from under them by shifting to a non-union production company and circumvent the need to provide important employee benefits. As it stands the technicians behind LIV Golf’s telecasts are some of the few in major sports who do not receive health and retirement benefits when providing world class coverage.
“I gave up other work last year to commit to LIV because I knew I would receive much-needed healthcare contributions to keep my family in coverage,” said one crewmember. “But now that’s all changed, there seems to be plenty of money to spend on extravagant excess but not to guarantee the crew that puts their product on the air access to healthcare. These are industry standards, and the LIV executives could care less.”
Making this sudden change in working conditions worse is that the Saudi Arabian Government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the primary financial backers of the league, have seemingly bottomless pockets and no aversion to spending extravagant sums with the 2023 LIV season projected to cost $1 billion. Five golfers alone account for more than half a billion dollars in guaranteed contracts, tournament purses are in the tens of millions, and players, caddies, and extended entourages receive lavish private flights. These factors considered; the technicians bringing these events to television should be getting industry standard wages and benefits.
“I’m in the twilight of my 30+ plus year career broadcasting golf, and I am losing much-needed retirement contributions, that I was counting on to keep me on track to reach my retirement goals. At this phase of my life,” said a veteran broadcast technician. “I must continue to save as much as possible to retire at an appropriate age.”
LIV Golf should ensure crews are taken care of. “As skilled and dedicated professionals, broadcast workers deserve fair benefits and working conditions that reflect the value of their contributions to LIV Golf,” said IATSE Representative Rachel McLendon. “We are calling on LIV to work together so that all workers have access to benefits and are given a voice in their workplace.”