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Talks at ABC Resume in New Year

Talks at ABC Resume in New Year

The Network Negotiating Committee (NNC) and representatives from ABC/Disney resumed contract negotiations in New York City on January 30. During the week of face-to-face talks, the Union amplified to Company representatives the many concerns expressed by members at NABET-CWA meetings held in New York, Washington, Chicago and California during December and January.

            The Company had initially proposed severe cuts to the “Opportunity to Eat” payments, but moderated that proposal based on reports from around the country that the membership expressed strong opposition to the proposed reduction. The Union is still fighting a Company proposal designed to eliminate Night Shift Differential for represented employees at ABC-owned television stations. Discussions continued regarding the impact of the Company’s plan to transfer NABET-CWA work from the Network Distribution Center in Los Angeles to a non-union Disney cable facility.

            The Union made significant progress on two critical provisions for Daily Hires: a paid sick leave structure and enhancements to the “Payment in Lieu of Benefits” provision. The NNC also is pressing hard to achieve short-turnaround pay for certain groups of Daily Hires, as well as improvements to the “Travel-Only Day” stipend. In addition, the parties exchanged proposals focused on improving the retroactive “Pop-Up” formula for the accrual rate in the ABC-NABET Retirement Trust. To date, the parties have reached tentative agreement in dozens of areas.

            Critical issues remain affecting Newswriters at KABC-TV, WLS-TV, and KGO-TV. NABET-CWA is seeking to gain “Pay Seniority” rights for Daily Hire Newswriters in California, which would guarantee higher wages based on how long these Newswriters have worked at the stations. In return, the Company is proposing a new two-tier wage scale – with lower rates for new employees. Future progressions to the top wage scale would be at the sole discretion of management.

            For the first time in these negotiations, ABC presented a wage proposal (1.5% in each year of the contract) and the Union countered with a 3% per year wage increase.

            Full updated copies of NABET-CWA and ABC proposals are posted on the websites of Locals 16, 31, 41 and 51.

            NNC members include Local 16 President Arthur Mazzacca; Local 31 Treasurer Maurice Thomas; RVP-4 Don Farnham; and, Local 51 Executive Board member Jennifer Olney. Also attending the negotiations are Sector Vice President Lou Marinaro; Local 16 Vice President James Nolan; Local 31 President Rich McDermott; Local 41 President Don Villar; Local 51 President Kevin Wilson; and, Assistant to the Sector President Jodi Fabrizio-Clontz. For the first time, NABET-CWA attorney Ralph Phillips has joined the NNC for bargaining.

            The next round of talks is scheduled for March 6-8 in New York City. The current NABET-CWA/ABC Master Agreement expires on March 31, 2017.