Even as CBS and Viacom's proposed merger moved closer to fruition Tuesday (Oct. 29), CBS primetime and late-night series writers represented by the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have signed a petition urging CBS/Viacom to finalize a "fair" contract with newly unionized CBSN staffers.
CBSN is CBS' 24-hour streaming news network.
The petition was delivered to CBS by none other than WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson and came on the fifth day of collective bargaining in negotiations that began in June.
“We are one union," said Peterson. "The solidarity of our members who craft drama and comedy means a lot to our unit members at CBSN, who are gearing up for a busy 2020 and expect their real concerns to be addressed by the company.”
CBSN unionized with WGAE back in February, which the union billed as the first major digital live-streaming service to unionize.
CBS and the union have had a relationship since broadcast journalists at the network joined the union when it was first formed in 1954.
The more than 75 writers to sign the petition included for CBS series Blue Bloods, City on a Hill, FBI: Most Wanted, Instinct, The Good Fight, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Our Cartoon President and Tommy.
The petition reads:
"As members of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and writers/producers working with ViacomCBS, we are proud to support our fellow union members at CBSN who are negotiating their first union contract. They have made reasonable proposals to ensure fair working conditions and to protect the integrity of their bargaining unit. We call on CBS to respond accordingly and reach an agreement that respects the terrific work of the writers, producers, and graphic artists at CBSN.
"It has been a tumultuous few years at CBS, but we are proud of the incredible work of WGAE members at CBS News and their dedication to a fair workplace—now it’s time for their colleagues at CBSN to have their voices heard.
"The staff at CBSN have shown tremendous courage to stand up for one another and we have their back—it’s time for a fair contract."