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NBC Workers Threaten to Boycott Christmas Tree Lighting

By:
Dec 01, 2009 | 7:23pm EST

Alicia KeysAretha Franklin and Shakira could be left in the dark on Wednesday night if TV staff at NBC staff carry out a threat to strike at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony in New York. 

30 Rock star Jane Krakowski and Chuck's Zachary Levi are slated to host the annual televised bash, with performances from the leading ladies, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Barry Manilow, the Muppets and the Roots.

But the live telecast, which will be beamed across America, could be scrapped if NBC bosses continue to refuse to negotiate with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians union that represents nearly 3,000 of the network's producers and technicians.

Union chiefs are furious that they're still awaiting a new contract nine months after the last one expired, and more than a year after talks started.

And they're likening executives at the TV giant to Dr. Seuss's Grinch.

Union chief Ed McEwan says, "We can't let the Grinch at NBC steal another Christmas from thousands of honest working people. This charade must stop. Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network's management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark."

According to the NBC wWb site, the ceremony is still scheduled to air at 8 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

The New York tree-lighting ceremony is America's most famous -- it started in 1951.

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