ABC Modifies Seniority Proposal


After a Memorial Day break from negotiations between ABC and union NABET-CWA the talks resumed Tuesday, with ABC saying it had limited proposed seniority changes and taken a proposal about consolidation off the table.

In an e-mail to members, the union said that ABC had  proposed creating "separate seniority groups" in which employee layoffs would not have to follow strict seniority. ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover confirmed that ABC had made major changes to the proposal, suggesting it be limited to the engineering group, rather than also applying it to newswriters, desk assistants, traffic coordinators and others.
"We did change the seniority proposal dramatically," said Hoover. She said the move came after listening to the union's objections. "We limited the proposal while still permitting us to achieve the flexibility we need," she said.
She also said that ABC had taken a proposal off the table that NABET-CWA had proposed that would have allowed the network to consolidate some functions and facilities.
One of ABC's key issues all along has been finding a way to keep younger people with the computer skills it says it needs to be competitive in the digital world. The union sees it, instead, as a way to get rid of higher-paid, more senior workers in favor

of younger, lower-paid ones.

The four-year contract, which expired March 31, covers engineers and desk assistants, news writers, and producers in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A.

Talks resumed in Chicago last week

after an eight-week hiatus