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ABC Network and NABET-CWA reach tentative labor agreement

ABC and its employees, including technicians, news writers and other job classifications, have reached a tentative labor agreement that, if approved, will last until March, 2007. Details of the agreement were not made public, although a spokesman for the employees’ union said the new contract was “not great, but fair.”

The agreement is expected to be ratified by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA), the broadcast sector of the Communications Workers of America, with a month. It followed a week of intense off-the-record talks between the parties in Chicago, which were subject to a news blackout. Negotiations began in late February, and the contracts expired on May 12.

“This was a long and difficult process,” said John S. Clark, president of the NABET sector of CWA. “But both parties were able to hunker down on August 8 and work through all the issues to reach an agreement our bargaining committee could recommend to our membership.”

The NABET-CWA union membership at ABC includes regular employees at ABC’s television and radio networks and station operations. It encompasses New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco engineering technicians; New York desk assistants; Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco news writers; New York radio talent coordinators; New York and San Francisco traffic coordinators; New York publicists; and Los Angeles plant maintenance and radio program coordinators. Several thousand additional employees who work for ABC each year on a daily hire basis are also union members covered by the contracts.

“We’re pleased to reach a comprehensive agreement on the myriad of issues that both sides brought to the bargaining table over the past months, and we believe this mutually agreeable resolution reestablishes the historic workplace relationship of ABC and NABET-CWA,” said Jeff Ruthizer, ABC’s senior vice president of labor relations.

The new contracts, covering all units, would take effect upon ratification and would continue through an expiration date of March 31, 2007. The results of a vote on ratification by NABET-CWA-represented employees are expected by September 26, 2003.

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