County Executive Gorski and State Sen. Anthony R. Nanula, D-Buffalo, who is running for city comptroller, Tuesday pulled their election campaign ads from WIVB-TV for the duration of the station's lockout of 31 off-camera workers.
Gorski's Republican opponent, City Comptroller Joel A. Giambra, said he was remaining neutral in the labor dispute at Channel 4 and had offered his services as a mediator. He did not rule out the possibility of removing his ads sometime in the future.
Gorski declared at a news conference Tuesday that "in support of the locked-out workers of NABET Local 25, my campaign has officially notified CBS and WIVB-TV to remove my re-election commercials from their airwaves as soon as possible.
"I believe it is important to send a clear message that I support the efforts of the hard-working men and women in this community to earn decent wages and support their families," Gorski added.
Michael P. Hughes, a Gorski aide, said the campaign contracts for air time on a week-by-week basis and will lose a few thousand dollars by dropping the ads from Channel 4. The ads will stop running after tonight.
Gorski said, "It is wrong for a corporate giant to take dollars out of the pockets and food off the table of hard-working men and women. And it's wrong for a corporate giant to make millions and millions of dollars on operations here and to deny these individuals a working wage."
At Tuesday's news conference, Gorski heard television reporters relate how the lockout has affected the families of the 31 employees, who have been out of work since Saturday.
He offered to work toward a settlement with both sides -- the station, which is owned by Lin Television Corp. of Providence, R.I., and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 25.
Gorksi noted that he has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO Council, representing 100,000 unionized workers. He said corporations should pay fair wages and should not look for chances to reduce them.
"I hope the impasse ends," Gorski said. "If I can play a role, I will."
Nanula was especially critical of Lin Broadcasting and urged the workers to hold their ground against the company's "squeeze play."
"It is estimated that the owner of WIVB-TV takes between $30 and $40 million out of Buffalo a year and ships it out of state to company headquarters in Providence or to the parent company in Dallas," Nanula said, "and to turn around and treat our local workers in this fashion is unconscionable."
Giambra denounced Gorski's move as "political grandstanding" and said he had been talking with both sides in the dispute for the past few days in an effort to resume contract negotiations and end the lockout.
"I believe real leadership here is to try to get both sides to the table," Giambra said. "What we need here is a solution, not campaign antics or a sideshow. I'm not saying that at some time in the future I won't buy time on Channel 4, but I believe I can be most effective at bringing both sides together by staying neutral."
Giambra noted that under the Gorski administration, Erie County Medical Center nurses have been without a contract for 18 months and sheriff's deputies have been without a contract for three years.
Gorski characterized Giambra's stance as an attempt to sidestep the issue.
"Joel Giambra showed his true colors," Gorski said late Tuesday. "He had a tough decision to make and he rode the fence on it."