Democrats drop WMUR from debate over labor dispute

cbs democratic debate

The Democrats have bounced a prominent local New Hampshire TV station as co-sponsor of the December 19 presidential primary debate because the station was unable to settle a labor dispute.

The debate was set to be co-sponsored by ABC News and WMUR, its Manchester affiliate.

But Hearst Television, WMUR's owner, failed to schedule labor negotiations with members of the station's production department -- costing the station its role.

The decision was announced Friday by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, and New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

"The right for workers to form and organize a union is a key principle of the Democratic Party, and is key to ensuring the economic safety of the American people by protecting their rights and benefits," their statement continued.

The move costs Josh McElveen, political director and anchor at WMUR, his scheduled appearance as a moderator. ABC News correspondents David Muir and Martha Raddatz are already set to moderate.

As an ABC affiliate, WMUR will still broadcast the debate.

Union negotiations have long plagued WMUR, and the union has frequently used the presidential campaign season to gain leverage. The affiliate found itself in a similar position ahead of a December 2003 debate but maintained its sponsorship after agreeing to ratify its contract with the union.

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