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BULLETIN #12 - JANUARY 24, 2022

After two weeks in New York City, the parties concluded the third full round of negotiations on Friday, January 21st. The Master Agreement will expire on March 31st, and upcoming rounds of bargaining have been scheduled for February 28-March 4, and March 14-25. With the ongoing uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic, the locations for future meetings are pending, at this time.

The Union’s bargaining committee worked through the MLK holiday weekend studying and evaluating the package of proposals and counterproposals presented by ABC on January 13th.   Negotiations resumed with ABC on Tuesday January 18th, and continued through Friday. The Union committee presented our response to the Company’s package of proposals by countering a number of items and addressing all economic and non-economic proposals.

ABC’s January 13th package included a general wage increase offer of 2% in each year for the three-year term of the new contract (which would expire in March 2025). The Union committee presented its wage proposal: 5% each year going forward, coupled with a 3% retroactive increase for the first contract extension period (April to October 2021).

Most of the bargaining sessions during the second week focused on Sports field production, and related matters. The Union is sharply focused on stabilizing work opportunities, improving travel provisions, and securing overall better economic conditions for our daily hire members. Specifically, the Union’s proposals are designed to bring much needed stability to work opportunities for our NABET-CWA represented members. Currently, the Company has the right to employ and assign “mixed crews” which can include non-represented Company employees, outside production companies, vendors, as well as college and university employees and students. Notably, the Company uses third party production companies for a large volume of events, and our members typically are not engaged on such productions. The loss of work opportunities during the past few years is quantifiable, and the trend is troubling.

In addition to stabilizing work opportunities, economic conditions are a key component to these talks. While ABC is offering modest increases to the “travel-only” daily stipend, NABET-CWA is proposing that the “travel-only” day be compensated with a straight-time and overtime hourly rate, and that “travel-only” days be treated as time worked for all purposes (daily/weekly overtime, benefit payments, in lieu of vacation payments, per diem, etc.).

The Union is seeking improved benefit payments/contributions for all daily hires, as well as better schedule change and shift cancelation provisions, and an improved sick leave program. NABET-CWA also has a proposal focused on the Company offering of full-time staff employment to high usage, full-time equivalent (FTE) daily hires.

The parties also spent considerable time discussing Sideletter DN, which is a provision in the Master Agreement dealing with non-represented individuals using digital cameras and related equipment for ENG and EFP assignments. The Company’s proposal nearly doubles the number of camera models which persons other than union-represented engineers could use, and further eliminates language limiting the use of those cameras only to “Consumer” or “Professional Consumer” models. In addition, the Company is insisting that existing, long-standing language in this Sideletter be changed from “will not” to “may” shoot for others, and is also pushing hard to expand the usage by non-represented employees of iPhones for shooting material within broadcast studios. The potential impact of these expansive proposals is of great concern to Union negotiators since they would seriously erode limitations and protections that have been core elements in this Sideletter for many years.

Other topics explored during the two-week series of talks included; pension enhancements for staff employees, short turnaround, night shift differential, holidays, various scheduling provisions, job classifications, opportunities to eat provisions, and other meal provisions.

The NABET-CWA bargaining team included: Arthur Mazzacca, Bill Bores, Jim Nolan and Jim Joyce (Local 16 – New York), Alex Staherski, Bob Williams and Carl Mayers (Local 31 – Washington DC), Chris Willadsen, Patrick Keating, and Mike Johnson (Local 41- Chicago), and Carrie Biggs-Adams and Brad Belstock (Local 51 - California). The bargaining committee was assisted during the second week by our sports advisors: Steve Rubbinaccio (L-16), Derek Armstrong (L-31), Steve Griswold (L-41), and Mike Denton (L-51). Participants from the NABET-CWA Sector office included President Charlie Braico, General Counsel Judi Chartier, and Assistant to the President Jodi Fabrizio-Clontz.

Please continue to monitor Sector and Local Union websites, and check email notices for updates relating to negotiations and mobilization activities.

In Solidarity,

The ABC NABET-CWA Network Negotiating Committee