The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA) and ABC have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract to replace the one that expired 3/31/11. NABET-CWA President James Joyce and the members of the five-city bargaining committee are unanimously recommending that the membership ratify the offer by 5/17.
NABET-CWA and ABC reached this settlement after a fifteen-hour mediation session on March 22, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Those mediation efforts were led by George H. Cohen, the national Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. CWA President Larry Cohen joined the Union’s bargaining committee at the table during the marathon mediation session. The tentative agreement contains significant improvements to ABC’s July 17, 2012 stated “last, best and final” offer.
“After two-years of protracted negotiations, this latest round of mediation has produced a breakthrough, and this offer is now worthy of our members’ consideration,” said NABET-CWA President Joyce. “The persistence of our members and our bargaining committee to achieve a fair contract was instrumental in this outcome. NABET-CWA also appreciates the full involvement of FMCS Director George Cohen and CWA President Larry Cohen in producing the tentative agreement.”
The new contract, when ratified, will cover approximately 2500 staff and daily hire employees working as broadcast technicians, telecommunications specialists, newswriters, producers, desk assistants, publicists, and plant maintenance personnel at various Company Network and TV station operations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. The contract includes ABC news and entertainment programs and ESPN sports broadcasts airing on ABC. Nationally syndicated talk shows “Katie” and “Live with Kelly and Michael,” as well as the ESPN programs “Pardon the Interruption,” “Around the Horn,” and “Highly Questionable” are also covered by this agreement. Additionally, this new contract establishes NABET-CWA’s jurisdiction for ABC provided content for the newly launched “Fusion” cable news channel, a joint venture between ABC-Disney and Univision.
Complete details of the contract offer will be made available to the membership within the next few days. Enhancements from ABC’s last offer were obtained in the areas of economics, jurisdiction, and retirement benefits for staff and daily hire employees. The wage offer contains a total of 9% in wage increases over the next four years (2.5%, 2.0%, 2.0%, and 2.5%) effective 3/30 if the contract is ratified by 5/17.