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STRIKE COVERAGE: Democratic Candidates Vow to Stand with CBS News Writers in the Event of a Strike

John Edwards, Christopher Dodd and Bill Richardson join Clinton and Obama's vow of support for Writers Guild of America 11/21/2007 06:51:00 AM Eastern

Writers Guild of America members working for CBS News gained some prominent allies in their battle with the company.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) pledged not to participate in CBS’ upcoming Democratic debate if the news writers elect to strike.

"The workers at CBS News have been without a contract for close to two-and-a-half years. It is my hope that both sides will reach an agreement that results in a secure contract for the workers at CBS News, but let me be clear: I will honor the picket line if the workers at CBS News decide to strike,” Clinton said in a statement. "America's unions are the backbone of America's middle class, and I will always stand with America’s working men and women in the fight to ensure that they are able to earn a fair wage."

"If CBS News is unable to reach an agreement with its workers and they decide to strike, Barack Obama will not cross the picket line to attend the debate," said a statement from the Obama campaign.

Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Sen. Christopher Dodd (Conn.) and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson also have vowed not to participate in CBS News' Democratic debate in the event that the news division's WGA members opt to strike. 

With almost the entire Democratic field promising not to cross picket lines should the guild go on strike, CBS News would have little choice but to cancel the debate, which is scheduled for Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is to moderate.

Additionally, John and Elizabeth Edwards, as well as Sen. Obama’s wife, Michelle, have cancelled scheduled appearances on ABC's The View out of deference to the ongoing WGA strike in Hollywood.

Guild members at CBS News’ local and national television and radio operations in New York; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles voted last week to authorize a strike and could walk at any moment.

The guild represents about 500 CBS News employees including news and promotion writers, editors, desk assistants, production assistants and graphic artists. Membership overwhelmingly rejected CBS' contract offer in November 2006. The two sides have not met since January 2007.

Many Democratic candidates have come out in support of the WGA during its current strike in Hollywood. Last week, Edwards walked the picket line at NBC studios in Burbank, Calif.

"We are going forward with our plans for the debate and hope that the WGA, in the interest of the American public, will pull down the pickets for the period of the debate,” CBS said in a statement.

For full coverage of the strike, click here.

 

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