The production and distribution of the Sunpapers was delayed today when employes from five of the paper's six unions honored picket lines erected Tuesday night by newscasters striking a television station owned by the Sunpapers' parent company.
Delivery of about 3,000 copies of the morning Sun to locations in Western Maryland, West Virginia and the District, and at least 10,000 copies of the Evening Sun, were affected when Teamsters Union truck drivers refused to cross the picket line thrown up by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists who are striking WMAR-TV (Channel 2).
AFTRA involved the Sunpapers in the seven-week-old dispute after discovering that the A.S. Abell Communications Inc., which owns the television company, was shipping film and broadcasting material to the station via the newspaper plant.
The striking newscasters said that the shipments had increased greatly since the strike began.
The approximately 800 employes who had stayed off the job honoring picket lines returned to work after Sunpapers publisher Reg Murphy notified WMAR-TV that the paper wished to discontinue what had been the "sporadic practice of the past 20 years."
Calling Murphy's decision a victory, the AFTRA pickets walked off around 1 p.m., and were cheered by about 200 reporters and other Sunpapers union members meeting in the Typographical Union Hall a few blocks from the Sunpapers plant.
Eighteen AFTRA newscasters, including Orioles baseball broadcasters Brooks Robinson and Chuck Thompson, have been locked in a bitter labor struggle with WMAR since their union contracts expired March 1. The issues center on minimum salary scale, overtime pay and fees paid for free-lance work.