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NABET-CWA/ABC-Disney Negotiations - Bulletin #6

NABET-CWA/ABC-Disney Negotiations

Los Angeles

Bulletin #6 - October 16, 2016

Week three of bargaining for a successor to the NABET-CWA/ABC Master Agreement concluded with the parties meeting in full sessions, and in off-the-record sidebar meetings. 

On Wednesday, October 12th, the NNC spent the day working in separate sub-committees.  One group met with Company representatives to discuss issues specific to network operations in New York.  The other met with NABET-CWA Attorney Ralph Phillips to work on issues affecting the F, K and O Newswriter/Producer Units. 

Full committee bargaining resumed on Thursday, where the session began with a moment of silence for KABC-TV editor John Lugo who passed away suddenly the day before.  John worked at KABC for more than 30 years and was a respected and well-loved member of both the NABET-CWA and ABC families.

Thursday’s bargaining session focused on a number of key contract proposals, including a Company proposal for “Full-Time Daily Hire Engineering Employees.”  This proposal would establish an eligibility status for an enhanced package of benefits, now generally available only to staff, to include “A” Unit Daily Hire members who regularly work 4 or 5 days per week.  The parties also discussed a Company proposal that would allow for expanded use of material provided by outside news services such as ‘Stringr’ and ‘Fresco News.’   These new services have been described by some as “the Uber of electronic newsgathering.”  The crowdsourced video content is captured by contributors who have registered with the service, or alternatively, content may be requested directly by the client.  Content is then submitted for review and purchase by the client, such as ABC.  The Company revealed KABC and KGO have been using such services on a preliminary basis since March.  The Union has expressed serious concern about the integrity of the content and the impact on the bargaining unit – especially as it relates to ENG crews. 

On Friday the parties continued bargaining, narrowing some of the outstanding issues by reaching a tentative agreement on a number of items, while modifying or withdrawing others.  The Union offered counter proposals to potentially damaging company proposals which could lead to significant erosion of jurisdiction in the Newswriter/Producer units.  In the afternoon, members of the NNC toured the Network Distribution Operations for the west coast at the ABC Prospect Lot as well as the Disney Cable distribution center in Burbank. 

On Saturday October 15th, the parties met in separate caucus for much of the day, followed by an off-the-record discussion between Union and Company sub-committees.  The parties are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday, October 17th.