STRIKE COVERAGE: ABC, News Writers Reach Contract Agreement
Writers Guild of America East: Members to Vote Dec. 13 at Meetings in New York and Washington, D.C.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/29/2007 12:06:00 PM
News writers and ABC reached a tentative agreement on a new contract after almost three years, according to the Writers Guild of America East.
The contract covers news writers, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists and researchers, who had been working without a contract since January 2005.
According to the guild, they will get 3.5% annual raises and a $3,700 "contract bonus" for all full-time employees and a pro-rated bonus for per-diem workers if the contract is ratified by the rank and file. It will take effect Feb. 1. It will be put to a vote by union members Dec. 13 at meetings in New York and Washington, D.C.
We're pleased to secure, finally, a fair contract for our members, WGAE executive director Mona Mangan said. We expect the membership to ratify this contract." The key sticking point, said WGAE, had been the removal of writer/producers from the union and WABC in New York. When ABC took that off the table, said a union source, everything fell into place.
According to WGAE, the contract will "lower night-shift differential by one hour in the second year of the contract, increase acting-editor fees and establish a new fee for production assistants, diminish payment for a missed lunch period in network radio and decrease payment for ops-room work in network radio while grandfathering current employees."
In other ABC union news, the network is back at the bargaining table with NABET/CWA over a contract with tehchnical workers that expired March 31. ABC was preparing a comment at press time.
The WGA and similar CBS News employees have been in similar contentious negotitaions for almost as long -- since April 2005 -- but the prospects don't look particulary bright, with the guild recently getting strike authorization, although it has not said when and whether it will use it.http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...?desc=topstory