CBS, WGAW at War Over Docked Lunchtime Pay "Settlement"

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CBS has agreed to restore the docked lunchtime pay of protesting TV news writers at its Los Angeles television station duopoly of KCBS and KCAL. But the resolution has set off a war of words between CBS and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW).

In a press release Thursday, the WGAW said CBS had “settled” an unfair labor practice charge the guild had filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). CBS disputed the claim.

The WGAW had sought to recover the writers’ docked pay following an Aug. 16 protest over stalled contract negotiations and newsroom layoffs at the stations. Its NLRB claim also contended that CBS had engaged in “unlawful surveillance of union activity” by videotaping the march.

The “settlement,” according to the union, required the company to send a letter to KCBS/KCAL employees acknowledging their right to conduct union activities “free of surveillance.”

But CBS has disputed the guild’s assertions, saying, “Contrary to the WGA's statement, there was no determination that CBS violated the National Labor Relations Act, nor was there a settlement with the WGA. Rather, CBS took unilateral action to remedy a situation that came to our attention when the WGA filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board.”

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